"Growing broccoli has made my life much easier." - Sayed Amir, farmer in Tehlanchi village, Parwan province
Farmers in eastern Afghanistan learn modern techniques – and why broccoli can be really good for you
7 AUGUST 2013 | PARWAN, AFGHANISTAN
Just six months ago, Sayed Amir was struggling to make ends meet. He farmed three jeribs, or just over half-a-hectare, but crop yields were low. Despite all his hard work, Amir never earned more than $600 a season, not enough to look after a family. Then, his life – and prospects – changed.
Experts brought in by USAID’s Incentives Driving Economic Alternatives for the North, East and West (IDEA-NEW) project suggested Amir and other farmers in Parwan try growing broccoli instead of giving all their land over to cabbage, carrots, radishes, cauliflower and wheat. The farmers learned frost-protection techniques, how to apply fertilizer and drip irrigation. Amir says it was the most important training session of his life. Until then, he had used traditional farming methods.
Now, he is applying modern techniques and is growing broccoli, alongside the crops he has always farmed. He expects to multiply his earnings four times over. As the first farmer to grow broccoli in Tehlanchi village, Amir has become something of a role model. He is convinced broccoli has enormous potential as a farm crop for Afghanistan.