Nawroz, The New Year of Bactrian/Aryan Farmers

Since ancient times, the Bactrian (Inhibitants of Bactria) had been celebrating Nawroz as new year. Since last few decades it is being tried to declare this New year as Iranian year only (Iran was part of Aryana/Bactria). This new year is the years of farmers to plant food and ornamental flora. This region was also the cradle of domestication for many flora and animals species and Bactrian camel is the most prominent one. US President Osama sent greetings to Iranian people at the eve of new year of Nauroz which provoked the feelings of Pashtun/Afghan people as they angered why Nawroz is linked with Iranian only. We agree that Iran is the part of this history but not the sole part. I hereby copying the open letter of a Kabul university retired professor in this regard to bring things on ground. Nawroz

“Many Afghans are disappointed by President Obama’s Spee…ch while calling the celebration of Nowruz as Persian/ or Iranian New Year. Nowruz celebration, which falls on March 21st, is not solely “Iranian New Year”. Iranian writers have hijacked the history and traditions of a large region once called Ariana-Vija, according to Avesta and the Vedas. I believe that President Obama should not add to the conceited claims of Iranian Regime, which is based on the concept of “Aryanism”, initiated in Europe in the 1930. Perhaps it would be more appropriate and politically correct if the term Nowruz or New Year be used. The Spring Solar New Year was widely celebrated in Central Asia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan, Turkey northern parts of Iran today and initially from Bactria to Indus Valley, the entire territory of Afghanistan and parts of Present-day Pakistan.

The celebration of the Nowruz actually started in archaic periods in Bactria or Balkh in the 2nd Millennium BCE or earlier by the farmers who lived on the banks of Oxus River, According to researches of Professor Habibi in ancient Vedic and Avestan texts, the early farmers were called Aran, which etymologically changed to Arian. Thus the term Ara or Aran was referred to a profession rather than a Superior Race. The celebration of the Farmers Day is still observed in Afghanistan during Nowruz, but not in Persia. The Elamet culture of Persian culture in the 2nd Millennium was connected to ancient Mesopotamia. According to Greek historians, Herodotus, Polybius and Strabo, this ancient civilization started on the foothills of Pamir Mountains and banks of Oxus River. Professor Luis Dupree and Alexander Marshack, American Archeologists also believed that the banks of Oxus River were one of the first places for farming wheat and barley. Italian archeologist in 1957 while conducting researches in northern Afghanistan, (Balkh, Takhar and Samangan) found very ancient irrigation system, which was initiated by the early farmers. Hence spring was an important season for the farmers and the first day of spring, March 21st was celebrated. Many different human races endured to make farming a source of living in ancient times. Nowruz was not exclusive to Persian Kings nobilities as widely propagated.

Hamid Naweed
Former Professor of Art History at Kabul University


Health and Food Plants are Better than Ornamental Plants~ Grow for Health and Food.

The food security challenge and health complications, strongly realize the importance of those plants (trees, shrubs, bushes etc) which can add to food and health. There are many plants which can give beauty along with the food and health promising nutrients. A movement to turn from just ornamental to health promising and food plants will be a great revolution in human heritage. I here by give the example of Moringa tree as a typical case, how it adds to health and food.img_58431

Moringa oleifera is a tree native to the Himalayas and cultivated throughout the subtropics. Also called the ‘drumstick tree’ due to its odd shape, moringa oleifera grows very well in numerous climate types and offers many health benefits. It has over 92 nutrients and 46 natural antioxidants, as well as anti-inflammatory compounds. A superfood to rival most other superfoods due to its incredible nutritional value, it is also said to treat more than 300 types of disease. The best part – it has no side effects. Moringa is one tree to be extolled for numerous reasons.

For example, one serving of Moringa has more vitamin C than seven oranges, four times the calcium present in milk, and twice the protein as well as three times the amount of potassium found in a single banana. It can reduce free radicals in the body that cause cancer and speed aging, and lower blood pressure due to its high levels of Niacin in the form of A1 and A5 as well as Vitamins B3 and B10. Just 100g of fresh Moringa leaves contain 8.3 g protein, 434 mg calcium, 404 mg potassium, 738 μg vitamin A, and 164 mg vitamin C. Moringa also contains:

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The indigenous breeds have been around for hundreds of years and are well adapted to the areas. Their major problem is high mortality due to diseases like Newcastle, Pox, new respiratory disease and parasitic infestation. These can be easily prevented through vaccinations and treatment. Training rural women in these skills have been very effective. This has drastically reduced mortality and empowered women.

Animal Genetic Resources, the Camel, Food Security and the Climate Change

The present era’s Pakistan is cradle of animal domestication. The well known civilizations of Gandhara, Mohan jododo, and Mehergarh are the inimitable examples. The ruins excavated from the said civilizations, resulted in finding the sculptures of many important livestock species, especially, cattle, equids, sheep, goat and chicken. The native/indigenous chicken is the descendant of the said chicken of old ages. Exception to the industrial breeds, there are three main strains of the native chicken; i.e. Agro-pastoralist strain (Watani or Desi), Pastoralist strain (Pahwali), and Agrarian/Riverine strain (Desi and naked neck). Aseel (Kulengi) breed is additional to the above said breeds/strains. It is a large sized breed and usually use for cock fighting as a game bird.


Chicken Genetic Resources of Pakistan

  1. The Agro-pastoralist chicken, usually known as Watani or Desi is found with the semi-pastoralists communities of the country. This breed is also widely adapted by the agrarian societies…

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Conservation agriculture

Evaluating potential for conservation agriculture


Photo credit: Google

Maize on wheat residues on conservation agriculture plot

Evaluating potential for conservation agriculture in Ethiopia, Kenya, and Malawi×300.jpg

Conservation agriculture (CA) is being promoted as an option for reducing soil degradation, conserving water, enhancing crop productivity, and maintaining yield stability. However, CA is a knowledge- and technology-intensive practice, and may not be feasible or may not perform better than conventional agriculture under all conditions and farming systems.

Read the full text: CGIAR

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Deforestation in Myanmar threatens biodiversity and communities

So called development projects are detrimental to biodiversity and enthronement’s health.

GarryRogers Nature Conservation

As Myanmar opens for business, a new report has found forest conversion for commercial agriculture is spreading at an alarming rate with devastating results for the country’s ethnic minorities and biodiversity.


It continues everywhere.

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Link between desertification and climate change


IPCC Adopts Algeria’s Proposal On Desertification, Climate Change

Algerie Presse Service (Algiers)

Algeria’s proposal on the elaboration of a special report on the link between desertification and climate change have been recently accepted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

The announcement of accepting Algeria’s proposal was made in the meeting of the 41st session of IPCC held from 24 to 27 February at the headquarters of the United Nations Environment Programme in Nairobi (Kenya).

This proposal was supported by several countries, including Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Jordan, Mali, Chad, Switzerland and Spain.

Read the full article: allAfrica

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Letter to a Forum on Role of Native AnGR in Food Security under Climate Change Scenario

I am an applied animal scientist and have been working with livestock breed issues in the context of food security and climate change. Climate change is affecting and will affect (worsen) livestock breeds and production systems. Every year new diseases enter the disease register of livestock species. Last year a fatal respiratory camel disease was reported from many quarters of Asia. The disease was linked to the dryness in the desert because of no rains.

On the other hand, introduction of exotic high yielding livestock breeds in the dry lands of the globe is a useless and wasteful exercise. Such breeds need very high inputs. While providing a favorable environment a lot of energy and water are needed. Grain feeding, high veterinary inputs, need for skilled human resources and others are limiting factors of such breeds.

Local/indigenous livestock breeds are very important and play a pivotal role in food security and livelihoods of the livestock keepers in the world. Such breeds need very low or even zero inputs. They rely on marginal lands, not suitable for agricultural activities. Local breeds are highly resistant to the climate change effects, diseases, feed/water scarcity and droughts.

Unfortunately, there is political and industrial backing for the introduction of exotic breeds.  Local livestock breeds are always neglected while formulating policies for food security and livestock production. The local livestock farmers are also neglected and never participate in policy formulation. Such circumstances make it difficult to achieve the goals of food security, especially in the climate change context. LIFE Network has introduced the idea of livestock keepers rights.

Also climate change issue is always dragging politically. Carbon credits, methane gas production etc, all are considered as the produce of animals, especially livestock. In this context thousands of Australian camels are proposed to be killed/shoot for carbon credits. Such methodologies are unacceptable and cannot help in reality. The same camel can be used as food aid and food security in the drought affected areas, once those camels are provided to Asia, especially Afghan people.

In short local livestock breeds can be the best tool to combat the effects of climate change on one hand and to reach the goals of food security on the other hand