Sat, Jul

The Plot To Teach Modern Farming


Learning land preparation A unique exercise is underway at Alberoni University in Afghanistan’s Kapisa province. A small demonstration plot has been prepared and 170 agriculture students are being trained in modern farming techniques.

It is part of USAID’s Incentives Driving Economic Alternatives for the North, East and West (IDEA-NEW) program to update the students’ knowledge and skills and compensate for the lack of practical training at most Afghan universities.
The training is especially important for these students, nearing the end of their undergraduate careers.

Many of them will eventually find work in government agriculture departments and will be responsible for training local farmers. It is consequently essential for them to know proper land preparation, sowing and planting techniques, integrated pest management and post-harvest best practice.
Shareefullah, a third-year student, said the training was invaluable. “They demonstrate efficient irrigation and minimizing the quantity of seeds used. There is a better harvest because of integrated pest management techniques.”
Gardez, who is in his last year of college, says he regrets not having received “such training throughout my university course.”

Alberoni University’s Dean of Agriculture, Fazl ul Rab Arya, says it is the first time his students are exposed to new agricultural techniques. He describes the demonstration plot, measuring one jerib (the traditional Afghan unit that equals 2,000 square meters) as a “sustainable source of knowledge for the students.”

Another demonstration plot will be established at Nangarhar University in Jalalabad. IDEA-NEW also plans to provide current textbooks and laboratory equipment to both universities as well as to the agricultural department of Kabul University.