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    600 garden to be establish in Helmand

    LASHKARGAH (PAN): Hundreds of gardens would be established in southern Helmand province next summer, agriculture officials said on Tuesday.

    Funded by the US, the $2million (98,440,000afs) project will be implemented in 10 districts of the province, Agriculture Director Abdullah Ahmadi told Pajhwok Afghan News.  

    He said the department had completed preparations to provide saplings to the farmers who gave up poppy cultivation in the province, the world’s biggest opium-producing region.  

    “During the current year, most growers established nurseries on their land. We urge local traders to purchase seedlings from them,” the director said, adding 600 gardens would be set up.

    He continued the agriculture department was making efforts to persuade wean farmers from poppy cultivation to planting other crops. As part of the campaign, some of the farmers are being trained in horticulture.

    Ahmadi maintained the project was being jointly enforced by the agriculture department and Green Afghanistan Agriculture and Livestock Organisation (GAALO). Each district will have 12 gardeners to train farmers.

    Meanwhile, growers are optimistic toward the scheme. If provided with professional training, they say, many farmers will establish gardens instead of cultivating poppies.