Soldiers from the 1st Battalion The Duke of Lancasters Regiment, working with the International Relief and Development Agency and the Afghan Government, have handed out 20 new tractors to farming co-operatives in the Nad-e-Ali region of Helmand Province.
Delighted local farmers were presented with keys to tractors, thresher machines and ploughing equipment by District Governor Habibullah at a ribbon cutting ceremony.
Each of the farming co-operatives consisted of at least 35 farmers who had been asked to work up and present a business plan. To qualify for the equipment, the co-operatives had to show that they were willing to stop sowing poppy crops and focus their production on wheat farming.
Captain Nick Carter, Influence Officer with the 1st Battalion The Duke of Lancasters Regiment said: The International Relief and Development Agency has been helping bring together co-operatives of farmers. How much land these farmers actually own will entitle them to certain farming equipment. So what we have today is a give-away of tractors, threshing machines and ploughs.