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Cablegate: Additional Usda Prt Advisors Critical For

VZCZCXRO9525
PP RUEHBC RUEHDE RUEHDIR RUEHIK RUEHKUK RUEHYG
DE RUEHBUL #5356/01 3080524
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 040524Z NOV 06
FM AMEMBASSY KABUL
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 3922
RUEHRC/DEPT OF AGRICULTURE WASHDC PRIORITY 0081
RUEHRC/USDA FAS WASHDC PRIORITY
INFO RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHINGTON DC 0202
RHEHAAA/NSC WASHINGTON DC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC
RUEKJCS/OSD WASHINGTON DC
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC
RUCNAFG/AFGHANISTAN COLLECTIVE
RUCNIRA/IRAN COLLECTIVE
RUEHZG/NATO EU COLLECTIVE
RHMFIUU/HQ USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 KABUL 005356

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE, SIPDIS

DEPT FOR EB/FO and EB/TPP/ATT
DEPT FOR SCA FRONT OFFICE (DAS GASTRIGHT) AND SCA/A
DEPT PASS AID/ANE
DEPT PASS USTR FOR HARTWICK, KLEIN, AND GERBER
USDAFAS FOR LTROUBA
USDOC FOR SHAMROCK AND DFONOVICH
TREASURY FOR ABAUKOL
NSC FOR AHARRIMAN

E.O. 12958:N/A
TAGS: EAGR EAID ECON PGOV AF
SUBJECT: ADDITIONAL USDA PRT ADVISORS CRITICAL FOR
AFGHAN RECONSTRUCTION

KABUL 00005356 001.2 OF 002


1. This is an Action Message. Please see para 7.

2. SUMMARY: USDA PRT Advisors have made a dramatic impact on the
agricultural economies of the provinces in which they work. Their
effect has been so positive that many PRT Commanders have requested
that a USDA Advisor be added to their teams. USAID has generously
agreed to provide USD 2.5 million to fund the seven current USDA
Advisors for the coming year. More funds are needed to meet the
demands of other PRTs for agricultural advisors. With 80% of the
workforce on the farm, growing the agricultural economy is the key
to winning the hearts and minds of the Afghan people, and providing
alternatives to poppy production. We look to Washington agencies,
especially USDA, to meet our need for more agricultural advisors for
our PRTs. END SUMMARY.

3. Since 2003, USDA has provided a small contingent of seven
advisors on an annual basis to provide technical expertise to the
Commanders of Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRTs) in key
developmental areas in Afghanistan. They are assigned to PRTs
covering Nangarhar, Panjshir, Ghazni, Logar, Helmand, Paktiya,
Zabul, Farah, and Parwan provinces. These advisors have made
critical contributions to our efforts, applying their respective,
home agency skills to underdeveloped areas in need of such expertise
as dryland agriculture, irrigation, soil and water conservation,
flood mitigation, extension, training, and agricultural systems
management, just to name a few. The USDA Advisors specialize in
developing and applying projects with funding provided by the
military, which in turn provides positive results and direct
assistance in relatively short time frames. In an economy in which
over 80% of the workforce is directly engaged in the agricultural
sector, we cannot overstate the significance of USDA's contribution
to the U.S. Mission here.

4. Using primarily the DOD Commanders' Emergency Response Program
(CERP) and US AID's Quick Impact Projects (QIP) funding, USDA PRT
advisors have developed and implemented a multitude of short term,
but highly effective projects that have positively affected the
lives of rural Afghans. USDA assistance in the placement and
construction of flood control/irrigation structures in Nangarhar and
Panjshir provinces has saved many lives and much valuable farmland.
In Ghazni, Logar, Helmand, Zabul, and Paktiya Provinces, USDA
guidance on retention dams and irrigation reservoir locations and
construction provided much needed water to the agricultural
community and to the public, thus permitting alternate crop
selection and growing season extension for increased crop
production. USDA Advisors have led the way in applying their
technical abilities in deep-well and windmill applications,
producing water sources where none existed, thereby winning over the
support of local communities and leaders. Irrigation efficiency has
increased tremendously in Parwan, Kapisa and Panjshir provinces, due
to the recent introduction of soil moisture sensors, through the
expertise and training of the USDA Advisor overseeing responsibility
of those areas. In Ghazni and Helmand provinces, USDA expertise has
improved animal health through artificial insemination and improved
rangeland grazing programs. Construction of laboratories for soil
analysis and seed storage is presently nearing completion in
Nangahar. On the public health front, Ag Advisors have initiated
projects which quickly impact the health of the local communities
throughout the country, such as aquifer recharge and canal cleanout,
providing safe drinking water to thousands of local residents. In
Zabul and Ghazni, slaughter houses are now under construction to
provide a safe, sanitary food source for local consumption.

5. The U.S. military has warmly welcomed USDA participation in PRTs
and has supported their Ag advisors generously with funding for
projects. Generals Eikenberry and Freakley have repeatedly stressed
the importance of the contributions of the USDA PRT advisors in the
field, and they have highlighted the need for additional USDA
Advisors at PRTs throughout Afghanistan. Regional Command PRT
meetings consistently recognize the USDA advisors as priority

KABUL 00005356 002.2 OF 002


partners. Many PRT Commanders have asked that a USDA Advisor be
added to their teams, and Post presently maintains a wish list of
possible future Advisor locations, should additional funding become
available.

6. Funding of the USDA PRT Advisors has always depended on non-USDA
sources. USAID has been the primary source for this money, although
other agencies have contributed. Just recently, USAID offered $2.5
million to keep the current number (seven) of USDA advisors in the
field. Given the demand for and successes of USDA's experts, we are
looking to Washington agencies, including USDA itself, to step
forward and provide the funding for additional USDA PRT Advisors in
Afghanistan.

7. COMMENT AND ACTION REQUEST: Afghanistan is an agricultural
society; 80% of the workforce is on the farm. The battle for the
hearts of minds of the Afghan people and the struggle against poppy
production begins and ends with a growing agricultural economy.
USDA's PRT advisors have made a measurable and mission critical
impact in those provinces in which they have worked. But we need
more funding and more people to broaden and deepen our impact on the
agricultural economy. We ask Washington agencies, and especially
USDA, to identify additional funds to send us the agricultural
experts we need to meet Mission goals.

NEUMANN

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