65-year-old Mohammad Akbar has been farming wheat on land owned by a local landowner for the last 20 years. But up until recently, he has not known the best methods to get the most yield from the land, following traditional methods used in the local area. "My harvests varied and were unpredictable, and often depended on the weather, which meant that my family's financial situation was not secure, and I worried I would not be able to provide for my children," he said.

With climate change making extreme weather and natural disasters more common in rural Afghanistan, farmers like Mohammad Akbar were already struggling to put food on the table. These families were already living day-to-day, and did not have a financial safety net to fall back on. COVID-19 has made matters worse, causing a rise in food insecurity, and pushing more and more families into dangerous situations.

Earlier this year, Mohammad Akbar enrolled in one of our training courses for wheat farmers in remote rural Badakhshan, where over 90% of the population relies on agriculture and livestock production for their livelihoods. As part of the course, Mohammad Akbar received 50kg of improved, drought-resistant wheat seed, alongside the tools and fertiliser he needed to get going. Alongside this, he was trained in how to prepare land, cultivate seeds, control pests and diseases, and irrigate the wheat. “The training was very interesting and I learned a lot,” he said, “One of the most important things I learnt was the best amount of seed to use on the land. Before I was using twice as much seed on the same amount of land and I now know how much I really need, so the seed goes further and I can grow more from less.” 

When harvest season comes around this summer, Mohammad Akbar is hoping that his yield will be impressive. “If a man eats nutritious food, he will be healthy and avoid diseases,” he said. 

“Thanks to Afghanaid I now know it’s the same with the wheat - now I have good quality seed, and it has been well looked after and watered, so I hope it will thrive. My irrigation system means that I am much less dependent on the weather conditions, because now there is always water for the wheat, even when there is not enough rain.” 

When he harvests the wheat, he will store some for his family to eat. “A good harvest will ensure that everyone in the family has enough food,” said Mohammad Akbar. "If the wheat turns out to be especially good, particularly for making bread, I will distribute it to other farmers in the area, so that they too can benefit. In this way, by sharing knowledge between farmers, we strengthen the bonds in the community and everyone's lives can improve.”

We've been supporting farmers across Afghanistan to combat the compounding impacts of the climate crisis and COVID-19, by helping people like Mohammad Akbar learn new skills, grow more food and #PlantForProsperity.

How can you help?

The past year has incredibly been difficult, especially so for Afghan families like Mohammad Akbar's. A gift from you today, no matter how small or large, will help an at-risk family in Afghanistan to put food on the table.

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