Vol. 3, Issue 10 (2016)
Farming system of Helmand province, Afghanistan
Author(s): Ali Ahmad, Dr. PJ George
Abstract: The study on farming system of Helmand Province, Afghanistan was carried out in Helmand Province. It is the largest province by area, covering 58, 584 square kilometers (20, 000 sq mi) area. The province contains 13 districts, encompassing over 1, 000 villages, and roughly 879, 500 settled people. Lashkar Gah serves as the provincial capital. Helmand Province has irregular highlands which gradually increase in elevation in the northern and southern parts of the province. The Helmand River is the longest river in Afghanistan and it flows through the center of the province. The Helmand River Valley Project provides river and canal irrigation for approximately 150, 000 hectares. Field crops such as wheat, barley, maize, and mung beans are produced where irrigation is supportive. The climatic environment is favorable to double cropping (winter and summer crop on same land) throughout the province. Industrial crops such as cotton, peanuts, and now soybeans are grown on a limited scale due to the lack of processing capacity. Vegetable production is almost exclusively subsistence based with some surplus being sold locally. Fruit and nut cultivation exists, but not on a large commercial basis and is predominate in the northern zone of the province that is served by kareze and well irrigation. Livestock and poultry are raised throughout the province for local consumption. Alluvial sub soils with loses top soils are common in flatland areas. These are calcareous soils with relatively high calcium carbonate (CaCO3) contents. Consequently, soil pH is generally high ranging 8.0 – 8.5. The Helmand farming system can be divided in the northern (orchards, irrigation from underground water) and the southern (principally field crops and surface water irrigation). The third farming system is the Kuchi livestock keeping system, whereby there are long range Kuchi people of community migrating into Farah, Uruzgan and the shorter range Kuchi, who basically live in and around Registan.