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

also are addressed through the project by way of "herder alliances" and by facilitating shuras at a provincial level. Shuras are traditional informal courts held by Afghan clan and tribal leaders to address and resolve issues of community interest.

The project has also been successful at employing new technology to help the herders make better decisions regarding their livestock, added Schloeder, a research scientist working in the capacity of pastoral ecologist.

"We've been collecting data to monitor the quality and quantity of forage on Afghanistan's rangelands, Schloeder said. "We're showing the Kuchi how modern technology can facilitate the decision-making process with respect to when and where to move their livestock, and when to sell them."

Schloeder said one of the most important new technologies being employed through the project is a livestock early warning system. The system, developed by rangeland and livestock specialists from Texas A&M, was first used in conjunction with another USAID-funded project serving East Africa and Mongolia. The work of adapting the system's technology is being done by Schloeder and other scientists from Texas A&M and AgriLife Research.

The system uses satellite-based weather technology in combination with field data to provide information on forage conditions for livestock, enabling pastoral communities to reduce the negative effects of weather, especially drought. It provides timely information on rangeland productivity and can predict the anticipated quantity of rangeland forage as long as 90 days in advance.

Due to security issues and other limitations, data collection has been focused on 10 provinces in the central highlands and northern portion of Afghanistan, Schloeder said.

"Using data from the early warning system, Kuchi herders will be able to better protect their livestock and understand where and when rangeland conditions are changing and what they need to do to a
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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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