Food Initiative Overview
August 8, 2011
Marshall Plan Charities has partnered with NEI to address malnutrition in the village of Khairabad, especially among women and children in rural areas whose mortality rates are among the highest in the world. To defeat rampant malnutrition which is synonymous with protein deficiency, NEI identified protein-rich soybeans as a potential remedy in Afghanistan where soybeans were not cultivated before. Since 2003, NEI has been developing a self-sustainable soy industry through soybean production, processing, and soy food culture development in collaboration with farmers, private sector partners, and the Afghanistan Ministries of Agriculture, Public Health and Women’s Affairs.
This past March, NEI selected 450 farmers throughout the Shindand District in Herat Province. NEI educated farmers and villagers on the nutritional benefit of soybeans and how to cultivate soybeans. Thanks to the donation of Joanne Herring via Marshall Plan Charities, 4.5 tons of soybeans were distrubuted through the Shindand District (and Khairabad is one of the many villages in this district). The 4.5 tons of soybeans will be ready for Harvest this October.
If all goes well, the farmers will harvest 180 tons of soybean. Primarily, they will be consumed at home by the farmers’ families, and they may sell some of the harvest to NEI. Then, NEI will process them into soy milk and soy flour which will be distributed to women and children for humanitarian purpose. With NEI’s soy food culture development, commercial demand is growing so that it motivates farmers to plant more soybeans.