IDEA-NEW has started another year of farmer
training in annual crop cultivation with 25 field days for planting wheat,
attended by 2,324 farmers. Thirty
training locations were selected in 28 districts across the five
provinces. Last year, there were 35
locations, which achieved wheat yields that averaged 60% higher than
neighboring fields where traditional methods of cultivation were used. This year’s program will cover areas not
reached in previous years.
Over four field days through the growing season,
farmers are taught improved agronomy of annual crops, including use of the two
wheel tractors (2WT) for bed preparation, planting, and harvesting. The
training also includes the use of seed treatment against fungal diseases and
corrects application of herbicides to control weeds.
Besides demonstration of improved cultivation of
wheat, the project also encourages farmers to diversify into more
drought-resistant crops, especially oilseeds such as safflower.
Each location has a plot of wheat of 0.4 ha, a plot of pulses (lentils or chickpeas) of 0.2-0.4 ha, and a plot of oilseeds (flax, safflower, or canola) of 0.2-0.4 ha. The total area planted at each location is one ha. There are nine locations in Faryab, eight in Balkh, six in Jawzjan, three in Samangan, and four in Sari Pul.
Qamaruddin, a farmer who attended a planting field day in Khwaja Paitakht village of Maymana city in Faryab province said “What I learned from this demonstration is that being a farmer will be much easier since there is little human force involved in the new planting method and truly it is less expensive and less time consuming than the traditional methods we have been using for ages”.
The program links closely with small-scale mechanization using 2WTs. IDEA-NEW has provided the opportunity for the farmers to buy 2WTs at a subsidized price and receive five days of training in maintenance and safe and effective operation. The 2WT can be fitted with a seed drill that also delivers fertilizer, which accurately controls the seed rate and ensures the more efficient use of the fertilizer.