Sher Mohammad Wafa is a 28-year-old horticulturist who revitalized an unused greenhouse at the Afghanistan National Agriculture Science and Technology University (ANASTU).
In 2017, he was assigned to ANASTU’s greenhouse, where he was responsible for demonstrating good greenhouse practices.
Having no previous experience in greenhouse production, Wafa relied on training from the USAID-funded Kandahar Food Zone (KFZ) program on crop and seed selection, soil preparation, fertilizers, drip irrigation, greenhouse ventilation and pest and disease control methods. He says, “Students come to ANASTU from all over Afghanistan. This greenhouse is a training center where students get practical experience in new ways to produce vegetables.”
In 2017, Wafa spent $30 on a local variety of cucumber seeds. Two months later, while most vegetables were still growing in the fields, he sold his cucumbers for $211, four times his initial investment. He plans to use the profit to buy fertilizer, pesticides and hybrid tomato seed, which produces higher yields than local seed varieties. He says, “Now I train teachers, students, farmers and visitors in greenhouse production and drip irrigation – and it generates income for ANASTU.”
KFZ is a USAID-funded program in Afghanistan that addresses the drivers of poppy cultivation in target districts of Kandahar Province by rehabilitating irrigation infrastructure, expanding alternative livelihood opportunities, supporting small businesses and helping the Ministry of Counter Narcotics design effective alternative development policies.