Uruzgan is one of those provinces of Afghanistan where most of the farmers get their major income from fruits because this province produces a good variety of fruits. But there were some farmers in these areas that would not get satisfactory profit from their orchard as they would grow and maintain their orchard without using advanced methods. These farmers of Uruzgan were unaware of the benefits of the advanced techniques for growing their orchards. But many of them now know the importance of it because they received farmer trainings that are arranged by ADA/RADP-S.
Pai Muhammad a farmer of Chora district is one of the farmers who benefited from these trainings. He narrates his story as, “I am a local farmer and belong to a family of 16 members. We depend upon the production of our lands and orchard to fulfill our basic needs.
I had established an orchard of apples containing about 300 trees on my 3 jerab land but was not satisfied of my orchard because I never got a satisfactory profit from it because I did not know the maintenance of it with the advanced practices. Most of the times pest and diseases would attack my fruits and affect its production up to great extent. Also due to the irregular irrigation of my orchard flowers and fruits would fall that would reduce my productions.
I was not happy for the establishment of orchard because it did not give me what I had expected. Then I heard from ADA community mobilizer about the training program that ADA/RADP-S has started training program for the farmers to build their capacity in agriculture and horticulture. I was very happy because I knew that it will help me enhance my agricultural understanding especially the maintenance of orchard.
I also enrolled in these training and started taking the trainings and practical demonstrations. The trainings covered all the areas of orchard and I learned many new and modern practices of orchard maintenance in which the orchard maintenance, orchard nutrition, IPM and weed control and orchard post-harvest management were the areas of my interest.
After I received the trainings I understood that why my orchard did not give a good result. It was because I had not done its pruning, never irrigated it keeping in view its specific time and requirement, and also never gave attention to its IPM control and nutrition. I learned the basic techniques of pruning and did my pruning by myself taking some instruction from the ADA master trainer because in the training we were taught that each year pruning gives heath to tree and fruits. And for IPM control I used tobacco water and soap water that was low costly and effective technique and benefited my trees a lot. Also unlike the past I collected the apple with hand that did not damage my fruits and I got a very good variety of fruits.
By applying the learned practices my production result satisfied me as before I would get about 4 Kharwar (1800 kg) but this time I got about 6 Kharwar (2700 kg) from my orchard. I then categorized my apples into 3 categories. The lowest category I sold on 150 AFN per munn (4.5 Kg), the middle category I sold on 190 AFN and the top category I sold on 225 AFN. Before I would sell my production as a single category in the bazar but this time I took samples of my apples and searched for a good trader in the Market then I took my apples to that trader. This benefited me a lot because I received a total amount of 115,500 AFN this year as last year I had benefited 70,000 AFN.
I am very thankful to the ADA/RADP-S for giving me such a chance of becoming an expert in orchard production.