NAWA, Afghanistan --
Hundreds of farmers attended a shura in Nawa, Afghanistan, to listen to government officials address concerns about the Helmand province Food Zone Program, Oct. 17.
Helmand Deputy Gov. Haji Abdul Satar and Nawa District Governor Haji Abdul Manaf spoke to a crowd of more than 600 Afghans about the program, which will begin in November and provides farmers with alternative crop options to poppy at a reduced cost. The program is in its third year.
Due to a law by President Hamid Karzai, the farmers would be required to pay at least one third of the cost of the actual farm supplies provided by the program, which raises costs to 3,000 Afghani, compared to the 700 Afghani farmers paid last year. In addition, Nawa district was originally allotted only 2,500 packages for the program, a decrease from the previous year’s 4,000.
Nawa government officials worked together to help farmers ease into the changes by reducing the cost required by law and increasing the amount of packages available.
Satar verified both a reduction in price for packages issued through the program to 2,000 Afghani and an increase in package allotment, back to 4,000 for Nawa, much to the pleasure of the farmers in attendance.