"Efforts like the PEACE program require collaborations among many individuals," Whisenant said. "The breadth of expertise within the university and Texas AgriLife Research make it possible to bring novel ideas to solve real-world problems."
"Basically what we've been doing through the project is helping the Kuchi reduce the variety of risks associated with their livelihood, producing and selling livestock," said Jacobs, who serves as lead researcher and chief of party for the project.
Years of conflict and drought have severely affected Afghanistan's livestock sector, Jacobs said. Improving it depends on the Kuchi developing better rangeland management techniques, improving their animal production practices and enhancing how they market their livestock.
"Another very important aspect of the project's risk-management work in Afghanistan is providing help with conflict resolution," Jacobs said.
For years, the Kuchi and Hazara have had conflicts over access to important rangelands in four provinces of Afghanistan. Rangelands constitute about 75 percent of Afghanistan's total land area and are critical to supporting irrigated agriculture in Afghanistan's lowlands.
Project personnel, working in cooperation with one of President Karzai's advisors and the Independent Department for Kuchi Affairs, have provided a number of conflict resolution workshops to Kuchi and Hazara tribal leaders. Workshops address effective communication, mediation, negotiation and additional skills and techniques for settling disputes.
"The conflict resolution portion of the project has been a very important and successful effort, and the Kuchi have employed the techniques they have learned to handle conflicts at a local level," Jacob's said.
|Contact: Dr. Steven Whisenant|
Texas A&M AgriLife Communications