Former Soldiers Get New Start as Farmers


IOM's Disarmament, Demobilization and
Reintegration (DDR) programme in Afghanistan has started to provide
direct agricultural help including seeds and fertilizers to more
than 500 former soldiers in the north of the country.

The programme, which is funded by UNDP's
Afghanistan New Beginnings Programme, will complete the
distribution in the provinces of Balkh, Jawzan, Sari Pul and
Samangan this week. Another 132 former soldiers living near a
cotton factory in Mazar province will receive cottonseeds and
fertilizers under the scheme.

Sharafuddin, a 35-year old former soldier from
Shakarah village in Shiberghan district, is one of the
beneficiaries of the DDR programme, which provides former soldiers
with small business training and US$700-worth of goods and/or
equipment to re-start their lives. Before joining the army, he
worked with his father on his family's land.

"I love being away from weapons and enjoy
civilian life. Through IOM's programme, I've now received a package
of excellent quality wheat seeds and fertilizers, which are better
than those they sell in local markets," he says.

Since February 2004, IOM has helped more than
11,000 former Afghan soldiers to return to civilian life - 6,400
the north of the country and 4,800 in central and southeastern

For further information, please contact:

Chris Lom

Media and Public Information Officer for Asia

Tel: + 66 1927 5215

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