Thursday, November 12, 2015

Soybeans for Hungry Afghanistan Families

Soybean varieties. Public domain photo

Nutrition and Education International (NEI) is working with local farmers to develop a soy seed market in Afghanistan. A developed seed market can ensure the access to a reliable domestic source of protein.

NEI’s mission is to establish a self-sustainable soybean industry in Afghanistan through developing a soybean full value chain; which includes seed multiplication, soybean cultivation, soybean processing, and soy market development.

The general objective of NEI’s humanitarian distribution program in Afghanistan is to assist poor families suffering from protein-energy malnutrition. NEI distributes soy products to women and children, excluding infants and children under three years of age in order to supplement their diets with a complete protein source and help prevent protein-energy malnutrition.

By 2010, NEI reached all 34 provinces and over 2,000 farmers. Farmers use harvested soybeans to nourish their families and sell the surplus to soy flour factories.

Now, in 2015, soybean consumption is becoming popular with development of widespread training and teaching.

The first commercial soybean production in Afghanistan began in 2006 when NEI imported 40 metric tons of two soybean varieties from Stine Seed Company. This company is based in the United States. Seed distribution began with 2,000 farmers in 9 provinces. The farmers received training on soybean cultivation and home use of harvested soybeans.  By 2010, NEI was able to reach 6,000 new farmers in all 34 provinces in cooperation with 600 MAIL extension agronomists who were first trained by NEI’s Technical Advisor, the late Professor Oral Myers from the Southern Illinois University located in the  United States.

--From the NEI website

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