U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan Karl Eikenberry (front in white) and Afghan Agriculture Minister Asif Rahimi (on truck) load seed At Badam Bagh Farm in Kabul.
In Afghanistan, wheat is not only a diet staple but is also the country’s most widely grown crop.
When an invasive fungus known as Ug99 threatened to damage and destroy Afghan wheat, the USDA joined forces with U.S. Central Command and U.S. Forces-Afghanistan to help stop it. Together in late 2010, they delivered 150 tons of USDA-donated Ug99-resistant wheat seed to Afghanistan. The seed arrived in October 2010 and entered Afghanistan’s seed multiplication program. Read more »
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack accompanied by Pakistani Agriculture Minister Nazar Muhammad Gondal and Afghan Agriculture Minister Mohammad Asif Rahimi during their visit to the Keith and Sue McKinney’s farm in Colo, IA, on Wednesday, October 13, 2010.
The little farming town of Colo sits just east of Ames, Iowa, in the central part of the state. It’s harvest season here. Farm families are trading shifts in their combines to harvest their crops before winter. Rows of soybean and corn stubble disappear into the yellow and brown rolling hills. Folks are hard at work, but some pause and begin to collect at Keith and Sue McKinney’s farm when Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack arrives, followed by Pakistani Agriculture Minister Nazar Muhammad Gondal and Afghan Agriculture Minister Mohammad Asif Rahimi. Secretary Vilsack invited Ministers Gondal and Rahimi to be his guests in Des Moines at the World Food Prize, and their meeting all together at the Colo farm was their first since May 2009 in Washington. Still, folks were standing around asking: What does Colo have to do with Afghanistan and Pakistan? But, as Secretary Vilsack, the McKinney family and faculty from Iowa State University explained, Colo could be a model not only for Afghanistan and Pakistan, but developing agricultural economies around the world. Read more »