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BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan – U.S. Army Sgt. Shawn Fouste, Decatur, Ill., noncommissioned officer in charge of the Freedom Restoration Center with the 455th Expeditionary Wing, Task Force Med, plays with (click for more)

KUNAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Veterinarians and agricultural extension agents who serve the Marawara District of Kunar Province learned new ways to engage and educate those they serve during a “train-the trainer” seminar with members of the Iowa National Guard’s 734th Agribusiness Development Team Oct. 3 at the governor’s compound in Asadabad.

The seminar came ahead of a series of educational meetings the Afghan agricultural officials and veterinarians will conduct for Marawara farmers and livestock producers in late October.

U.S. Army Maj. Loren Adams of New Liberty, Iowa, the ADT’s veterinary officer, organized and led the training seminar for Marawara agricultural officials and veterinarians. According to Adams, the idea to “train-the-trainer” developed as the ADT assessed just how much agricultural and veterinary expertise existed in Kunar Province.

“We’re finding there are already highly educated and competent agricultural experts who have a lot of knowledge they can share with their fellow Afghans, and they want to do it,” Adams said. “We’ve also found that the Afghan model for educational meetings is strictly lecture-based, yet we’ve heard that approach isn’t one Afghan farmers really enjoy.”

Adams, a practicing large animal veterinarian, pointed out that Afghan farmers aren’t alone in finding one-way lectures unappealing.

“In my practice in Iowa, I’ve had a lot more success holding interactive meetings with livestock producers where we can talk one-on-one and they can ask me questions,” Adams said. “We wanted to model that kind of meeting for the Marawara (veterinarians) and (agricultural) extension folks.”

Not all that works well in America works in Afghanistan, a fact Adams readily acknowledged. But the training seminar made a believer of Mahamadullah, the agricultural extension manager for Marawara district.

“I got information about livestock and agriculture, and how to interact with farmers in my district, plus a lot of additional information that strengthened my knowledge,” Mahamadullah said. “We benefited from the experience of our instructors. This was a positive conference that will help bring agricultural development to Marawara district.”

Adams added that the larger goal is for Afghan farmers and livestock producers to increasingly view their servicing veterinarians and agricultural extension agents as valuable resources. Only then, Adams emphasized, will more effective agricultural and veterinary techniques make their way into the Afghan mainstream.

“Improving agriculture here has got to be about Afghans helping Afghans,” Adams said. “There are Afghans here who know how to do it better. We just have to give them the tools they need to get that knowledge to the people who need it.”



KUNAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Eric Pugh of Winterset, Iowa, a forestry specialist for the Iowa National Guard's 734th Agribusiness Development Team, demonstrates proper pruning techniques during the ADT's KUNAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – U.S. Army Maj. Loren Adams of New Liberty, Iowa, veterinary officer for the Iowa National Guard's 734th Agribusiness Development Team, reviews veterinary educational handouts with Afghan veterinarians who serve the Marawara District of Kunar Province. Adams and other ADT members provided a


Last Updated on Friday, 08 October 2010 18:24


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