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Agriculture project helps bring 'PEACE' to Afghanistan
Date:2/9/2009

KABUL More than 80 percent of Afghanistan's livestock production, consisting primarily of sheep and goats with a smattering of cattle, originates with that country's traditional nomadic herdsmen, the Kuchi.

For 2 years, the Texas A&M System has been involved in a U.S. Agency for International Development-funded agriculture project to help the Kuchi (pronounced koo-chee), who number about 3 million throughout Afghanistan, improve their livelihood.

The Pastoral Engagement, Adaptation and Capacity Enhancement, or PEACE, project was created to help the Kuchi improve livestock production, manage rangeland and natural resources, and use modern technology to their advantage. The project also helps them address tribal clashes by using conflict resolution techniques.

"There's a renewed emphasis in Washington toward putting time and resources, including non-military assistance, into Afghanistan to help stabilize that country and secure the future for the Afghan people," said Dr. Edwin Price, director of the Norman Borlaug Institute for International Agriculture. "The PEACE project has been working toward that goal, as well as helping secure our own peace by improving grass-roots relations with the Afghans."

Drs. Catherine Schloeder and Michael Jacobs, research scientists with Texas A&M's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, have been working on the project since the fall of 2006. The pair previously spent almost a decade working with a non-profit organization helping nomadic herders in Ethiopia and communities in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

"We chose Catherine and Michael for the PEACE project because they were familiar with working in challenging environments and had the scientific and social background to help the Kuchi," said Dr. Steven Whisenant, head of the college's department of ecosystem science and management.

Whisenent said other project partners include the Texas AgriLife Research Center fo
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Contact: Dr. Steven Whisenant
s-whisenant@tamu.edu
979-845-5000
Texas A&M AgriLife Communications
Source:Eurekalert

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