Mobile Theatre Skits Teach Afghan Farmers About Best Practices

A farmer in Arghandab, Kandahar entertains fellow agricultural workers while teaching best practices as part of USAID’s RADP.
A farmer in Arghandab, Kandahar entertains fellow agricultural workers while teaching best practices.
USAID
Humor transmits useful tips on harvests, fertilizer, vaccinations
“I enjoyed the comedy and the agricultural issues being addressed. I actually recorded the drama through my cell phone and will definitely share it with my friends and family.”

December 2015—For a father and son farming duo in Kandahar, the world’s a stage.

Khairo’s son Golo runs into the room and yells, “Sorry, dad! I didn’t mean to pull up all the vegetables, but they were dying! No traders come to our garden and we cannot fill their trucks like the other farmers!”

Khairo shakes his head, “Why didn’t you just tell me that? Leaving me an empty plot is a little dramatic, son!”

A crowd of fellow farmers laughs and snaps pictures and videos to be shared with friends and family.

“I enjoyed the comedy and the agricultural issues being addressed. I actually recorded the drama through my cell phone and will definitely share it with my friends and family,” said Mohammad Din, a farmer from Kandahar province.

But luckily for Khairo’s farm, he and Golo (who use stage names) are actors for the day, and the production is courtesy of the USAID Regional Agricultural Development Program-South, which is using mobile theatre performances in Kandahar, Helmand, Uruzgan and Zabul provinces to teach farmers agricultural best practices.

In communities that are rural and illiterate, roving mobile theatre performances incorporate a traditional form of storytelling that has a long and rich history in Afghan culture.

Mobile theatre performances take local beloved characters, like Golo—the wayward son—and incorporate them into performances that highlight important agricultural practices for farming communities. Agricultural specialists and extension agents from the Afghan Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock’s provincial offices provide input into the scripts on technical cultivation techniques, including culturally relevant references and best practices that are easily adoptable by farmers.

For example, the farmer-actors dramatize the importance of balancing plant nutrients and properly applying fertilizer to improve their crops. Then, for a comedic twist, Khairo pats his son on the head and says, “Oh, son, applying manure will always be your job.”

These performances have drawn more than 6,600 spectators from across the four provinces since April. Farmers laughed along with friends and neighbors, but also walked away with valuable knowledge. Shows have covered topics such as pomegranate harvest techniques, vaccinating against livestock diseases, and wheat fertilizer application.

USAID’s Regional Agricultural Development Program-South strengthens the abilities of farmers and small- and medium-scale agribusinesses to improve production, processing and marketing as part of USAID’s commitment to support agriculture-led economic growth in Afghanistan. The program runs from October 2013 to October 2018.

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Last updated: May 07, 2019

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