Nazar Bek, a farmer from Khash district of Badakhshan province says
“For me, farming has always been mixed with a feeling guilt and fear. I used to grow poppy in my land. On one hand fear from the authorities and on the other hand the sense of guilt for earning illicit income surrounded my thoughts and didn’t let me live freely.”
Khash district of Badakhshan is well known for producing the best quality of potatoes in the country. However, lack of familiarity with new agricultural techniques and practices has put the entire population in a disadvantage. Thus farmers switch to poppy cultivation.
Comprehensive Agriculture and Rural Development Facility (CARD-F), funded by the British and Danish government, has taken an initiative to address these shortcomings by introducing new agriculture practices, technologies and providing farmers with technical assistance to enhance their capacities and improve agricultural productivity in rural Afghanistan. This initiative aims to increase employment, income and business opportunities primarily targeting rural masses through the design, facilitation and implementation of commercially viable value chains supplemented with rural infrastructure projects in the target provinces of Afghanistan. As part of its technical assistance CARD-F is providing trainings on land preparation, sowing, planting, irrigation, weeding, integrated pest and disease management, fertilizer application and best practices in harvest and post-harvest management.
“I have harvested more than 5.6 metric tons from only one Jerib land. So far I have only sold 2.7 metric tons with a net value of more than $1,200 and I have stored the remaining to sell in the spring for a better price.”
In addition to supporting farmers in technical areas, CARD-F has also built 36 bioclimatic stores in Khash district that provides the farmers with an opportunity to store their products during the winter and sell them while there is huge demand in the market in exchange for a higher price. Moreover, CARD-F is planning to further promote the modern agricultural practices in Kishm and Khash districts of Badakhshan province in order to encompass more farmers in its activities and to prevent them from receding into poppy cultivation.