Background: The Comprehensive Agriculture and Rural Development Facility (CARD-F or the "Facility") is a joint entity established under the auspices of the Agriculture and Rural Development (ARD) Cluster ministries. CARD-F aims to strengthen licit agricultural markets, and minimize adverse incentives to revert to opium production, by delivering a critical mass of investment and services in the agricultural sector, coupled with enabling rural infrastructure, and focused on targeted provinces and rural districts. Specifically this will be by supporting selected value chains in production, processing, distribution and market development, and addressing critical infrastructure bottlenecks to their growth.

The Facility specifically seeks to provide a means of designing, coordinating and funding high-impact interventions through an integrated Economic Development Package (EDP) for each targeted district that builds on and utilizes as far as possible existing programmes and projects. Such programmes and projects are predominantly those of the Afghan Ministry of Agricultural Irrigation and Livestock (MAIL) and the Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development (MRRD).

Established in late 2009, the Facility is currently funded by the UK Department for International Development (DFID). Critical Challenges: Around 80 per cent of the population in Afghanistan depends on agriculture and associated forms of rural production. Almost a third of licit GDP is derived from agricultural output. However, seasonal and chronic unemployment are common and food security is weak. These factors contribute to instability, an illicit economy, and extreme poverty.

Among the problems that underpin the challenges to rural development are those that relate to poor rural infrastructure that inhibits production, distribution and access to markets, including: · Little electricity with which to power irrigation pumps, support cold storage or agri-processing industry; · Degraded irrigation systems that undermine crop yields; and · Poor road infrastructure that inhibits fast and cost-effective distribution to markets. These constraints and others raise costs of production and often make Afghan cash crops uncompetitive vis-à-vis imports from neighbouring countries.

These problems in turn exacerbate market-related constraints, such as limited diversification from subsistence to cash crops, and constrain Afghans' ability to earn surpluses. Moreover, information asymmetries on markets and prices inhibit risk taking by farmers, who therefore rather stay with subsistence cropping and traditional off-farm economic activities.

Project Goal and Purpose: CARD-F was established to address the challenges outlined above. CARD-F's goal is to provide support for the Afghanistan National Development Strategy (ANDS) and ARD Cluster through stronger incentives, which encourage engagement in the local economy and sustain the move away from opium production, in provinces where poppy production has fallen. The purpose of CARD-F is to facilitate sustainable growth in legal rural incomes and employment in target districts. A number of key direct and indirect benefits will arise from this Project. It will help achieve: More efficient allocation of, and return on, famers' assets; Improved prospects for import substitution and export led economic growth; An improvement in the income security and livelihoods of farmers and their households, through the creation of investable surpluses; More secure and rewarding direct and indirect employment opportunities, including for women and otherwise disadvantaged groups; A reduction in the costs to communities associated with inefficient and insufficient rural infrastructure that otherwise limits market access and hamper the provision of public goods; A more environmentally sustainable use of natural resources and reduced generation of emissions; and Opportunities for entrepreneurship and value addition in the rural agricultural production and processing sectors. The Project design is aligned with DFID strategy for promoting pro-poor growth in Afghanistan. It is consistent with commitments under the UK's development Partnership Arrangement with the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan (GIRoA), ARD Cluster as well as aligned with the GIRoA's Afghanistan National Development Strategy (ANDS), which outlines the country's key strategies and policies for poverty reduction.

Our Mission CARD-F’s mission is to identify, design and implement agriculture & rural development interventions that have the highest potential and contributions toward the economic growth and economic development of Afghanistan in the most transparent, fair, and equitable manner and to achieve the best value for money for donor funds.

Objectives To increase licit rural employment and income; To stimulate private sector investment in agriculture sector in Afghanistan; To transform agriculture from subsistence to commercial; To strengthen selected agriculture Value Chains in Afghanistan; To enhance capacity of rural agriculture communities to adopt new technologies and practices and substitute imports; To move from its existing approach to development of agriculture sector (mixed livelihood and semi-commercial) to semi-commercial and ultimately to fully commercial model; To facilitate improved cohesion, collaboration and effectiveness of line ministries in supporting the development of agriculture and rural development sector; and To contribute toward the improvement of existing Government policies related to agriculture or agriculture trade.