by Karisha Kuypers, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and
Professor David A. Anderson, U.S. Army Command and General Staff College
Afghanistan once had a well-developed and productive agricultural sector. As late as 1978, the country was self-sufficient in cereal grains and had a strong export market for horticultural products.1 It also produced industrial crops such as cotton and sugar beets and had the relevant industrial capabilities to process them.2 However, nearly three decades of conflict and little or no investment have decimated Afghanistan’s agricultural sector and reduced both the amount of cultivable land and the level of crop yields.
To assist the nation in rebuilding its agricultural economy, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has provided advisors who have worked on Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRTs). Based largely on their end-of-tour reports, this paper examines and evaluates the challenges, successes, and modes of interaction of USDA advisors with their PRT and Afghan colleagues and concludes with recommendations for the future.
Download the full text of IAP No. 1, October 2010. (Right click to save.)