On Wednesday, April 1, the United States in conjunction with the Government of Afghanistan, inaugurated Good Performers Initiative award projects at a ceremony in Balkh Province. The award is designated for development projects in Balkh in recognition of that province’s success in eliminating opium poppy cultivation in 2008. The projects include delivery of tractors and associated equipment to each provincial district, and construction of health, education and community facilities.
Narcotics Affairs Section Representative, David Osgood, along with Ministry of Counter Narcotics Minister, General Khodaidad, and Balkh Governor Atta Mohammad Noor commemorated the delivery of the tractors and the start of construction in a ceremony held at the Governor’s compound.
The Good Performers Initiative awards provinces for successfully reducing poppy cultivation. In 2008, over $39 million were awarded to 29 provinces, including 18 that were declared poppy free. Balkh province received $1 million for maintaining its poppy free status for the third year in a row and has received over $4 million in GPI funds since 2006.
Other examples of Good Performers Initiative award projects include: the construction of a teachers’ college building in Paktia ($1.5 million), the purchase of farm machinery for Logar ($1.5 million), the construction of a school dormitory in Paktika ($1.5 million), and the construction of two girls’ schools in Laghman ($485,000).