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    Wheat seed arrives for distribution in Nawa District



    Story by Cpl. Jeremy Harris 

    Regimental Combat Team 3

    NAWA DISTRICT, Helmand province, Afghanistan — Approximately 300 metric tons of wheat seed arrived in the Nawa District Center, Sept. 14, as part of an initiative by the Afghan government to provide an alternative crop to poppy for farmers in the region.

    "This program is tangible evidence of the Afghan government's ability to deliver key support to its people," said Ian Purves, the stability advisor for Nawa District. "The farmers who receive the wheat seed will have a high-quality alternative to growing poppy."

    According to the locals, wheat actually sells at the markets in the area for roughly the same price as poppy.

    When the wheat seed is fully distributed, it will reach 3,712 farmers, according to Purves. "The timing of the arrival was critical as it comes at a point where farmers are getting ready to harvest their summer crops and getting ready plant the winter crops," he added.

    About 1,050 metric tons of fertilizer will also be distributed in conjunction with the seed, giving the farmers a better opportunity for success, said Purves, who works closely with the Marines of 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment. The Marines established security in the area and will continue to have a presence while the local government solidifies, but this distribution effort is spear-headed by the Afghan government.

    The Nawa District governor is leading the program and coordinating directly with the identified farmers, while the seed was produced and purchased by two nongovernmental organizations — the U.S. Agency for International Development and the Department for International Development, Purves continued.

    The Marines are not the primary players in this project, but they have been crucial in setting the conditions for this project to take place successfully. Without the security provided by NATO's International Security Assistance Force and Afghan national security forces, it would not be possible to distribute the wheat seed effectively or interact with the farmers.

    "This wheat seed distribution program provides an opportunity for local leaders and farmers to work together to capitalize on the agricultural vitality of Nawa," said Capt. Frank A. Biggio, civil affairs team leader with 1/5.



    Date Taken: 09.17.2009
    Date Posted: 09.17.2009 12:15
    Story ID: 38927
    Location: NAWA DISTRICT, AF 

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