A community development and sustainable agriculture project in Afghanistan will be a positive step in stabalizing the country after years of war. If I can be humble enough to recieve the Divine grace I want to plant the seed for this project. I don't have the seed but I have some education and experience which can be of assistance in finding this seed, put it inside the earth and help it grow.
If you have any interest in supporting me in any form of administrative assistance, IT, public relation, fundraising, or legal assistance, please contact me. Also if you know of any group or individual who is already doing this kind of work plesae let me know.
My plan is to move to Kabul by mid February 2004 and conduct a preliminary study in feasibility of this project. My long-term goal is to find farmland near Kabul and lease it, start an educational center as well as practical application of sustainable agriculture. I understand Dari, which is one of the main languages spoken in Afghanistan. I have a Masters degree in Community Development and Sustainable Agriculture from Goddard College in Vermont and I have experience working with Community Farms and Market Gardens here in the United States.
Some facts about the conditions related to agriculture and food in Afghanistan:
” …despite the fact that only 12% of its total land area (in Afghanistan) is arable and less than 6% currently is cultivated.”
“The United States provided 80 percent of all food aid to U.N. World Food Program (WFP) for Afghanistan last fiscal year, and already more than 50 percent this year. Our goal is to deliver 300,000 metric tons (MT) of food aid to the people of Afghanistan through the spring. (52,000 MT of food a month will feed approximately six million people.)” [See: Here]
According to the U.S. State Department's web site there is assistance in the form of seeds and other agricultural support from US government. I have no idea if they have the ideals of community development and sustainable agriculture in mind. As far as they are concerned if the idea of multinational agro-bussiness corporations, where a few will benifit and have most of the profit, takes off they might give it a little push as well. Their focus will most likely be the highest production possible from the land by any means possible regardless of the soul of the soil or the spirit of the community.
To me the facts point to the need for sustainable agriculture. It is a way of cultivating a relationship to the land and our relationship to each other and community that can sustain the nutritional needs as well as the basic peaceful needs of a community including the wild life. In simple terms it means growing good food localy for this generation and leaving the land so generations to come can also live off of it. It means not losing the top soil and posioning our ground water with chemical pestocides and fertalizers. It means creating a self sustaining and strong local economy.
The goal is to expand the use of affordable, appropriate and librating technologies in conjunction with helpful indigenous and traditional farming techniques. The Afghanis who will work and farm the land with me will get direct benefit by wages, harvesting the vegetables for themselves and sellin them in local markets.
Afghanistan is made up of many different tribes and ethnic groups. Tribes that have sustained centuries of change in central government. We need to create NGOs (non govermental organizations) that will work towards helping the developing countries and enhance the positive aspects of traditional community structure.
After years of war and hardship Afghanistan is not a favorite destination for most people. The U.S. Peace Coprs does not send volunteers and the State Department has advised American not to travel there. Why do I want to go there? This is my calling.
More details on the plan of action will be provided as it develops. In general I will need to take seeds and some basic tools (or have them shipped to me). For this I need expertise of people who know how to assist in organizing projects, in fundraising (here in the US and internationally), and people who can sit on the board of advisors or trustees, of this organization.
If you are willing to volunteer your time, please contact me.