Even with a wide variety of crops and well-laden trees, Rahmatullah’s land income always fell short. Profits were never enough to feed and care for his wife, seven children and parents, and the seasonal form would bring not enough to make ends meet.
Rahmatullah lives in Mirbazar village of Dand district in Kandahar province- one of the poorest areas where majority of the population is engaged in agricultural activities. On their plot of 16 Jeribs nestled between villages, Rahmatullah’s family used to plant seasonal vegetables and pomegranates. In the past, one harvest would make about 50 kg to 100 kg of vegetables, earning him around 2,000 Afghanis (USD 30). Without outside work he was unable to pay for his basic living needs and education fees for his children.
Unable to access bigger land, the only option available for Mr. Rahmatullah was to invest in CARD-F greenhouse and produce more vegetables from the same land.
CARD-F began its activities in the Dand district in December 2015 by providing cost-sharing grants to local farmers to establish modern greenhouses. Encouraged by the CARD-F offer for grant and technical support, Rahmatullah joined in and established a 3-span greenhouse in half Jerib land. Being a highly skilled farmer and with the financial and technical support of CARD-F, he saw immediate results after planting cucumber seeds he received from CARD-F.
The plants started bearing their first fruit in April 2016 and he collected 1,360 kg of cucumbers from 2 harvests, worth around 20,000 Afghanis (USD 294).
Rahmatullah’s cucumber plants will continue to grow well and produce cucumbers for the next 3 months which need to be harvested every 3 days. Rahmatullah is applying pruning, watering, fertilizer techniques that he learned from CARD-F which will help him to increase the yield of his cucumbers harvest in the future.
“The cucumber plants are an excellent add-on to our field. Now we have something to harvest throughout the year. This contributes significantly to improving the living conditions of my family and education of my children” said Rahmatullah one of 48 farmers who have benefited from CARD-F greenhouse project.
Funded by British and Danish Government, CARD-F helps to increase the volume of sustainably produced vegetables in Kandahar and improve the quality at all levels of vegetables value chain and transfer its development approach to local institutions through trainings.
In November 2015, the project introduced greenhouse cultivation to 18 farmers in Dand and Daman districts and central part of Kandahar province; which was later expanded to Arghandab district and in March 2016, the number of project participants reached to 48.
Greenhouses have substantially increased the economic efficacy compared to planting in the open field, help save land area and contribute to plant and cash crop diversity to reduce poverty and eradicate hunger.