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Iowa Aids Farmers in Middle East

27 April 2010

AFGHANISTAN - The Iowa National Guard is helping to rebuild the farming sector in Afghanistan in a bid to increase the production of legitimate crops in the country.

US secretary of agriculture Tom Vilsack said a 60-strong team of agribusiness experts would go to Afghanistan this summer to take over from the California personnel already there.

Farming advice has been given to the country since early 2008 to help move production away from opium poppies.

Growers need help with basic aspects of agriculture and the experts demonstrate what can be achieved with limited natural resources and little technology, Mr Vilsack explained.

"This isn't about turning this into an Iowa cornfield," he said.

Only around 15 per cent of the land in Afghanistan is suitable for farming, with most of this requiring irrigation.

Wheat is the most important crop for the country, followed by barley, corn and rice.

TheCropSite News Desk

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