DEHDADI DISTRICT, Balkh Province –The cool wind and cloudy skies make it an ideal day for farmers to work on their farms. Farmer Mohammad Ghani, 42, is working alongside other farmers, under the guidance of their supervisor, and weeding in the wheat farm where ‘Darulaman-07’ is planted.
‘Darulaman-07’ is one of six varieties of wheat seeds grown in Khasa-Paz farm this year. It is an improved wheat variety that is resistant to yellow rust and has a yield potential of 4 tons per hectare. The wheat from this type of seed seldom grows higher than your knees, Ghani says, as he works in the field.
“We work hard here, day and night. Luckily now, farmers’ conditions are better because of the improved seeds,” says Ghani, who has been working on the farm for eight years. He lives with his family of 11 in Khasa-Paz village in Dehdadi district, Balkh Province.
Khasa-Paz farm, owned by the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock (MAIL), produces foundation seeds that are subsequently multiplied to registered seeds. The farm is one of six Improved Seeds Enterprise (ISE) production farms that produces foundation seeds from breeder seeds, which are produced by the Agricultural Research Institute of Afghanistan (ARIA).
ISE farms, such as Khasa-Paz farm, sell the registered seeds to102 Private Seed Enterprises (PSEs) across the country, which in their turn use these seeds to produce certified seeds, known as ‘improved’ seeds, for sale or distribution to local farmers.
Khasa-Paz farm occupies a huge area of land of about 1.9 million square meters, west of Mazar-e-Sharif city. It is one of the farms in northern Afghanistan that is being supported by the Afghanistan Agriculture Inputs Project (AAIP), implemented by MAIL with funding support from the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund (ARTF).
Launched in July 2013, AAIP aims to strengthen institutional capacity for safety and reliability of agricultural inputs and sustainable production of certified wheat seed. Among its many activities are actions to strengthen ongoing research and seed production activities, which are resulting in the improvement of quality seed production and release of new wheat varieties. AAIP is supported by a grant of $74.8 million from ARTF.