As they watched a young girl lugging a sack of wheat nearly her size, representatives of Farmers Feeding the World, a Farm Journal Foundation initiative, realized why they had traveled to Afghanistan to witness the steps being taken to address food insecurity.
Foundation board members Andy Weber and Kip Tom were part of a delegation traveling under the auspice of the Department of Defense’s Task Force for Business and Stability Operations (TFBSO). Thanks to the efforts of Howard W. Buffett of TFBSO, who organized the trip, the group spent 10 days going where visitors rarely go in Afghanistan and Iraq: into farm country and the hinterlands.
Also traveling with the group were Buffett’s father, Howard G. Buffett -- an Illinois farmer and the philanthropist son of Warren W. Buffett -- and a professional video crew.
The once-in-a-lifetime trip was especially rewarding for the elder Buffett, as it was a chance to see the results of the generosity of the Howard G. Buffett Foundation (HGBF). Support of his foundation by the World Food Programme’s Red Cup program helped make it possible for Afghan schoolchildren to carry sacks of wheat home to their families.
"The Red Cup program is one of the two principal charities that Farmers Feeding the World is supporting, so it was great to see the results in action," explains Tom, a Warsaw, Ind., farmer.
The delegation also had the opportunity to spend time with producers across the region. In one meeting with farmers in the Afghan countryside, Tom and Howard G. Buffett explained how center-pivot irrigation works and how it can improve yields and allow for double-cropping.
"It was really encouraging to see how things are changing," Buffett explains. "While there is still lots of anxiety and poverty, you can see change happening."
You can learn more about the trip, view photo slide shows, and watch videos on the Farmers Feeding the World website.