War on Terrorism

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Texas National Guard ADT facilitates reforestation initiative in Ghazni

By Army 2nd Lt. Laura Childs
Combined Joint Task Force 101

GHAZNI PROVINCE, Afghanistan (4/5/11) - During the last two weeks of March, the planting more than 28,000 trees throughout the Ghazni province was coordinated by Texas Army National Guard Agribusiness Development team, to coincide with Nowruz, the Afghan New Year.

Working alongside the Sultan Hussein, Ghazni Director of Agriculture, Irrigation, and Livestock, the Texas Guard members from the Ghazni ADT-IV facilitated the purchase of the trees from local nurseries.

Hussein took the lead in the distribution to 14 districts in the province working through the district subgovernors and agriculture extension agents.

In the Qarabagh District 2,000 trees were purchased and included red plums, green plums and apricot. Many of these trees were planted in the district center and bazaar, while others were given to local farmers to plant at their homes.

“Sultan Hussein’s participation in this tree planting initiative not only increased plant life in the province, but it increased life in the agriculture sector, as well,” said Army Maj. Robert Mullen, Texas ADT-IV project manager.

In coordination with the civil affairs team with Task Force Ramrod in Andar District, Texas ADT-IV, and the Ghazni DAIL purchased and planted 650 apple trees, 650 apricot trees and 200 almond trees at Chardewal Farms, March 28.

Chardewhal Farms was once a profitable farm that produced high-quality apples, apricots and almonds. Due to a non-functioning well, the farm has been without water for four years. Task Force Ramrod facilitated the construction of a new well which will enable the farm to be functional once again.

“The orchard at Chardewahl represents what’s left of the huge government farm that spread over much of Andar and Giro districts in Ghazni Province,” said Army Maj. Michael Tucker, Task Force Ramrod civil affairs.

“The 60 government employees who work at the orchard lacked motivation and rarely worked, but the tree planting and the well that was drilled to support the trees have brought new life to the employees,” he said. “They worked very hard to plant the trees and it has renewed their purpose.”

Not only did the employees plant the trees, they extended their work by cleaning out irrigation ditches far away from the farm.

“While eating a celebratory meal with the irrigation chief, we designed a plan to repair over 22 kilometers of a canal that supplies water to thousands of wheat farmers,” Tucker said.

“The trees planted in Andar will provide a source of revenue for the irrigation department, but will also provide a source of inspiration that new life is coming to the area,” he said. “Every irrigation employee is thrilled about the project, and it has drawn a lot of interest for the Andar residents looking for signs that their government can take care of them.”

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