PAKTYA PROVINCE, Afghanistan - Afghan officials and Soldiers of the 2-45th Agribusiness Development Team travelled to the Dand Patan district to assess several agricultural projects completed over the past year.
Army Sgt. Maj. Lorn McKinzie, the ADT’s senior noncommissioned officer, met with Haji Naiz Mohammed Khalil, the Dand Patan sub-governor, to discuss recently completed projects and future projects in the district.
“The main focus for this part of the year is forestry,” said Khalil. “Afghanistan has experienced severe deforestation in the past few decades.”
“The ADT plans to assist in planting more than 2,000 trees this year,” said McKinzie. “Those trees will provide soil stabilization and ... will result in fruit production.”
At the same time, Army Spc. Jack McComas, a project manager for the ADT, and Army Pfc. Cheryl Baldridge, an ADT veterinary specialist, trained nearly 30 local farmers on basic animal husbandry skills.
“The Afghans requested information about local breeds and nutritional values to help their livestock gain and maintain weight,” said McComas. “The ADT plans to return and provide the information that the farmers requested.”
Mohammad Ali, the Dand Patan agricultural extension agent, requested the training.
“Training is crucial to farmers in the district,” said Ali. “With more advanced training, Afghan farmers will be able manage their animals much better and also be able to sustain them, even after the U.S. has left.”
Future projects in Dand Patan will include youth livestock training, poultry training, greenhouses, beekeeping and some farmers will also attend Para-Vet training in Gardez. All of the ADT’s projects will assist in building sustainable farming methods.