JDA partnered with Development Alternatives Inc. (DAI) and was a lead implementer in improving the productivity of wheat cultivation to reduce farmers' losses, improve food security and boost household incomes in Northern Afghanistan.
The Regional Agricultural Development Program-North, funded by U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), facilitated investments and works to improve the productivity and profitability of select agricultural value chains, increasing food and economic security for rural Afghans. We worked in the provinces of Baghlan, Balkh, Jawzjan, and Samangan.
JDA introduced laser land-leveling, certified seed, and mechanized seeding, fertilizing, and harvesting where farmland was being used inefficiently. Nearly 20,000 women were trained in nutrition and more than 7,700 women were also assisted in establishing kitchen gardens to improve household nutrition and provide income.
A typical farmer has access to an average of 4 ha of land, and it requires him to spend 20 days to cultivate it with an oxen. This 20 days represents a full season's work since he has no other land and it is only enough to sustain his family. At harvest time the farmer can't find laborers willing to freely cultivate his wheat and he ends up using 30% of his grain to pay for harvesting and threshing. He has to sell the rest to pay his debts but must rely on a regional broker who comes to his village offering low cash prices.
With the help of a 2-wheeled tractor, a farmer can cultivate his land in 5 days and can work the other 15 for his neighbors earning cash.
In 2013, JDA completed the IDEA NEW Project which was funded by USAID. The program provided training for farmers and their new 2-wheel tractors. The various courses introduce farmers to improved agronomy options ranging from seed selection to treatment, to mechanized harvesting and marketing primarily for wheat-based systems.
The basic agronomy and other courses are utilized to help introduce farmers to 2- wheel tractors. These trained farmers eventually adopt the new practices and then they show others, facilitating a more rapid business development for new owners.
Basic agronomy and appropriate mechanization courses are an important introduction to 2-wheeled tractors as the farmers develop consensus about the value of the equipment. This then allows other farmers to want to purchase and take part of the training aspect of the project.