Washington State U Helps Afghanistan Farmers Improve Methods

Washington State U Helps Afghanistan Farmers Improve Methods

New federal funding underwrites continued efforts.

Washington State University's work to help secure and improve agriculture in war-torn Afghanistan will continue with two new initiatives recently funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Institute of Food and Agriculture and the U.S. Agency for International Development.

Working as part of a consortia led by the University of California-Davis, WSU will receive $3.12 million to help strengthen the Afghani extension system. It will receive an additional $895,500 from a project led by Purdue University to improve the skills of agriculture-oriented faculty members at Afghan colleges and universities.

"These new programs build on our efforts to build both human and institutional capacity from previous programs implemented through our department," says Chris Pannkuk, director of WSU's International Research and Development in the Department of Agricultural, Human and Natural Resource Sciences.

The Afghan Agricultural Extension Program is a three-year project intended to build the capacity of the Afghanistan Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock Extension service to deliver programs on the ground to farmers.

High impact priority areas include improved wheat and grain storage, fresh market and processing value changes, use of legumes in grain crop rotations, protecting food production for high value urban markets, and livestock production for improved health and well-being.

"We'll also be working to establish an integrative communications model to ease the development of extension policy, management, training and information exchange with our Afghan stakeholders," Pannkuk explains.

For the five-year Strengthening Afghan Agricultural Facilities project, WSU will conduct four primary activities, all aimed at helping develop faculty capacity, agronomy courses and curriculum, establishing labs and integrating them into educational programs, and developing ag production activities on  student and research farms.

WSU  plans to achieve the following:

n  Develop a series of annual technical assistant/training workshops targeting course curriculum development, lab development, applied research and staff visits.

n  Provide graduate education to five Afghan faculty members

n  Host a mid-career senior Afghan faculty member as a visiting scholar for four months each year.

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