Farming in Afghanistan – how plant clinics can help farmers

by Muhammad Faheem, CABI Country Coordinator for Afghanistan, and Julien Lamontagne-Godwin, Plantwise Coordinator

Afghan farmer looking for armyworms
Mohammed Rauf looking at his cabbage crop to ensure no armyworms are present. Credit: Muhammad Faheem © CABI

Mohammed Rauf is living in the Afghani province of Bamyan, to the west of the capital Kabul. His village is called Dahene Nargis in the Punjab District. Bamyan Province is an agricultural hotspot in Afghanistan. Apple, potato and wheat are the major crops. Plant clinics have been operating in Bamyan Province since May 2012, supported by the Agha Khan Foundation, the Afghan Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock (MAIL) and the Plantwise initiative of CABI. The plant clinics are operating in 7 districts of the Bamyan and Parwan provinces and help farmers obtain information on the pests and diseases affecting their crops.

Mohammed Rauf has a large farm in his village. It measures 4 hectares. He grows potato, wheat, cauliflower, cabbage, beans and tomato. He also has 20 head of sheep and 2 cattle. He came into the clinic to ask about his cabbage nursery that suffered from a high fatality at the seedling stage. The plant doctor at the clinic told him to get an approved, resistant and higher yielding variety. The advice stood him in good stead, and he now has a good cabbage crop, and will be able to get a better price at the market.

Afghan agricultural landscape
Afghanistan has extreme seasonal variations, making it hard for agriculture to produce all year round. Credit: Julien Lamontagne-Godwin © CABI

Having received good advice, he decided to return to the clinic in July when armyworms were attacking his cauliflowers. The plant doctor, wanting to be sure the armyworms were the main cause of damage, visited his nearby fields. The plant doctor studied the cauliflower field and found some patches of armyworm eggs and larvae. The plant doctor gave his diagnosis and showed him how to manually remove the larvae from his crop by pinching the eggs between leaves. The farmer listened attentively, and showed the technique to his children. They went around the field and wiped out the majority of the armyworm eggs. The clinic system ensured that a field of cauliflower was saved, a farmer and his family learnt a valuable technique for the future, all the while ensuring that the farmer did not spend too much money on an insecticide. A job well done!

Explore the area that Mohammed farms on this map:

5 thoughts on “Farming in Afghanistan – how plant clinics can help farmers

  1. Alfayo Ombuya November 6, 2012 / 1:54 pm

    Simple and workable aproach to fight armyworm! it think I am also educated now.

  2. Abigail Rumsey November 6, 2012 / 1:57 pm

    Hi Alfayo, I’m glad you found this article useful. Are you a farmer?

  3. Alfayo Ombuya November 6, 2012 / 2:00 pm

    Hi Rumsey, I do farming as a hobby but I also work with farmers alot.

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