Friday, 22 October 2010

Visit to Behsud

Our first visit to the Behsud District Center - pictures show the district center itself, Mouhsen Habib (our DOS rep in the black hair and glasses) with the District sub governor and chief of police, and George Roemer (USAID) with the Ag extension manager (in white) and the Rural Development director (in brown). George and the extension manager got along famously - George owns a dairy farm in rural Wisconsin and milked cows and farmed over 500 acres for over 30 years. In spite of the language barrier George and Zabibulah discussed how to tell when soybeans were ready to harvest (you could hear the beans rattle in the pods) as well as common pests in crops. The Behsud district is heavily agricultural and raises rice, wheat, corn, a variety of citrus fruits, and vegetables such as tomatoes and cauliflower. This district is better equipped than most, having three computers in the rural development / ag office as well as desks and chairs. Zabibullah had spent three weeks in Japan studying rice production and proudly showed us pictures on his computer from his trip and the wonders he had seen (such as automated rice planters and vending machines that cleaned rice.) Afghanistan has a long way to go in most crop production but their rice yields measure up pretty well to international standards. We'll look forward to getting to know and working with the Behsud agriculture department; our relationship got off to a great start!

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