Bagh-e Sarda is a village located at the western bank of the Arghandab River where farmers have been traditionally involved in farming crops and orchards of peach, plum, apricot, pomegranate and vineyard. The fruits from Arghandab gained world popularity for better shapes, sizes and qualities. The four Jerib land makes Sayed Abdul Qayoom’s only source for his livelihood, which he is taking care for the last 20 years. Being an illiterate he is mainly dependent on his agriculture land that could hardly support his livelihood and as a result he is forced to ask his children to do farming instead of going to school.
During the interview Abdul Qayoom expressed the challenges he faced in farming, “before I was lacking the knowledge of modern farming and did not apply the modern techniques to my farm and thus each year my farm was facing problem with weed and pest attack. . We applied several different types of chemicals to avoid pest and insect attack without even diagnosing or knowing symptoms which even led to devastating effects on the yield.”
Last year Abdul Qayoom started to attend USAID’s Regional Agricultural Development Program- South classroom and demonstration trainings on wheat and HVC curriculums Afghan Development Association implemented that. Abdul Qayoom and his fellow farmers gained knowledge on the benefits of using new improved methods versus the traditional methods, fertilizer and manure application, water management, pest and weed control along with harvest and post-harvest techniques for the yields they fetched from their farms. He adds, “previously we did not control the weed plants instead I thought that weeds are crucial for land, I focused on quantity of fruits but I did not focus on quality. With thinning practices I gained improved fruit quality and sizes in comparison to traditional methods.”
At the end of the year Abdul Qayoom increased his profit from 180,000 Afs to 250,000 Afs with an increase of revenues of 30% from his orchard. Like Qayoom many other farmers learned from RADP-S project trainings and witnessed a great change in life. Thanking USAID/Chemonics and ADA farmers are happy that they gained both farming education and experience, which was not possible for them at schools. These farmers are a symbolic emblem for other future generations of farmers and the community where they preach USAID’s vision towards a more sustainable economic growth and improving lives for the rural Afghans of the southern zone.