U.S. Army National Guard Sgt. 1st Class Jon Martinez, Texas Agribusiness Development Team 5 Animal Husbandry non-commissioned officer and project manager assistant supply NCO, stands back as local honey bees take flight for the first time since being moved from their home in the ADT greenhouse on Forward Operating Base Ghazni April 4.(Photo by Staff Sgt. April Quintanilla)
GHAZNI PROVINCE, Afghanistan (April 27, 2012) — U.S. Army National Guard Sgt. 1st Class Jon Martinez, Texas Agribusiness Development Team 5 Animal Husbandry non-commissioned officer and project manager assistant supply NCO, farms honey bees native to Ghazni province to assist the Department of Agriculture Irrigation and Livestock specialists in teaching local Afghans how to start their own apiary business April 4, 2012.
The apiary, a honeybee yard with a number of beehives, project is a passion of Martinez that he established while still in the United States. He has shared his knowledge and love for the project with the Afghans of Ghazni province.
The local Polish and Afghan radio station on Forward Operating Base Ghazni allows Martinez to bring in DAIL specialists to host an agriculture talk show. This allows important information to get out to the local public and gives farmers the opportunity to call and get questions answered by Afghan professionals.
Martinez has made great ties with the DAIL apiary specialists, and together they have set up training that will allow 10 Afghans at a time to attend apiary class and gain the knowledge needed to run their own business. Upon graduation, each member will be given the tools and bees to start a business in the community.
“I am proud to have been able to get the right help out to the more remote districts and farm areas,” said Martinez. “The agriculture information that goes out on the radio is most rewarding to me because in a small way I helped get the messages out to the Afghan people.”
Members of Texas ADT 5 have worked with the local Afghan community for nearly eight months and through education and demonstrations, the Afghan agriculture specialists and farmers in Ghazni province’s produce and livestock have flourished.