The Impact of Weed Control on Wheat Yields in Afghanistan

Independent Consultant Agreement (ICA) staff yield assessment training in Dehdadi district of Balkh province.
Project staff are trained in yield assessment in the Dehdadi district of Balkh province.
Farmers learn the value of interventions
“It was the yield assessment activity that showed me the actual impact of the weeds on the crop yield.”

June 2017—Mohammad Dawood, an Afghan farmer from Dara Zhowandoon village in central Aybak district, had sown six jeribs (1.2 hectares) of wheat this season that were largely infested with weeds. After attending weed control training in March 2016, he applied herbicides to address the problem.

A strip of 1.5 meters was purposely left unsprayed, however, which became fully infested with weeds. Dawood did not know to what extent the weeds would reduce his yield in the infested strip compared to the treated area of his land or if the training would prove useful.

The training, which was conducted by USAID’s Regional Agricultural Development Program (RADP)-North, was followed up by the program’s wheat yield assessment activity. The activity, which randomly selects farmers to participate, seeks to demonstrate the impact of applying the weed control methods and to inform future interventions. To conduct an assessment, surveyors took 10 crop cuts from Dawood’s field—five from sprayed land and five from unsprayed land—and compared the yields between the two.

The results showed that Dawood’s herbicide application increased yields by 58 percent. He was both surprised and very happy with the result.

“It was the yield assessment activity that showed me the actual impact of the weeds on the crop yield,” said Dawood. “Now I know the weed control method, and I will use it in the future.”

USAID’s RADP-North program, which runs from 2014 to 2019, works in six provinces in Afghanistan to strengthen selected value chains for wheat, high-value crops, and livestock to provide food and economic security for rural citizens. This year, the program trained 15,000 wheat farmers in weed control—a proven method to boost productivity—and plans to train 30,000 next season.


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Last updated: June 22, 2017

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