New techniques and a new, improved variety of potato changes crop yields in Afghanistan
28 FEBRUARY 2013 | FARYAB, AFGHANISTAN
For years, Habibullah, a potato farmer in Afghanistan’s northern province of Faryab, struggled to support his family. His land never yielded enough to pay for everything his three children needed. “I needed to buy wheat, oil, sugar, clothes, stationary and medicine” but there were never enough potatoes, Habibullah recalls.
His fortunes changed when a USAID program sowed demonstration plots in two Faryab districts with an improved variety of potato. The program, which helps Afghan farmers overcome their dependence on poppy production, trained Habibullah and more than 300 other farmers in Faryab in modern ways to grow potatoes.
Habibullah says he achieved a record harvest - more than double that of his neighbor who still farms using traditional methods. “This is the first time that I harvested 6,960 kg of potatoes from one jerib,” says Habibullah, using the traditional Afghan unit that signifies 2,000 square meters of land.
Habibullah was able to sell his crop at a higher price than ever before because the new improved variety can also serve as a seed potato. An ecstatic Habibullah says he earned more than $2,000 from his crop.
“I am going to apply this method on my entire eight jeribs of land to increase my yield by at least 100%.”
Last updated: January 20, 2015