Bureau of South Asian Affairs
Nangarhar Province, Afghanistan
December 4, 2004
Emergency Wheat Seed and Fertilizer Distribution Program
The Afghan and U.S. Government are committed to addressing the problem of illicit poppy cultivation and to establish social and economic incentives for Afghan farmers. Promoting the growing of legitimate crops and improving rural infrastructure will not only help to wean farmers away from poppy production, but will provide opportunities for employment and improve rural Afghans’ livelihoods.
- Nangarhar Province is a major poppy growing area, with an estimated 28,000 hectares poppies planted in 2004. The Governor of Nangarhar Province, Haji Din Mohammad, recently pledged to aggressively tackle poppy production in his province and requested urgent assistance to supply wheat seed to farmers as an alternative to growing poppies.
- Responding to this request, U.S. Ambassador Khalilzad agreed to a one-time emergency program, totaling about $500,000, to assist farmers in Nangarhar. The seed will allow planting of approximately 2,800 hectares to wheat instead of poppy.
- Approximately 490 tons of wheat seed are being delivered to Nangarhar - 40 tons are coming from Kunduz and the other 450 tons are coming from Pakistan. USAID is providing the seed sourced from Konduz; USDA is purchasing the seed from Pakistan.
- Approximately 1,000 tons of the appropriate fertilizers are also being provided to farmers. USAID is purchasing the fertilizer from four dealers in Nangarhar.
- The Government of Afghanistan, through the Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development (MRRD), the Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Husbandry (MAAH), and the Ministry of Finance, Customs Directorate, has been instrumental in supporting and assisting timely implementation of this program before the planting season ends.