Helmand, a province known for its high contribution in poppy production, has cultivated the seeds of hope in its heart, Nad Ali district, by employing greenhouse technology. This technology not only produces high volume of vegetables but also paves the way for poppy reduction in the terrain. Islam Gul, a local farmer and the agent of change from Nad Ali district, is expecting to get a yield of 2.5 metric tons of tomatoes, with a net value of 115,000 AFS this season. Earlier, he used to work in his kitchen garden which was more energy consuming while it produced less income. Lack of awareness and access to new agriculture practices and technologies has made licit agriculture production unprofitable. Therefore, people have turned to illicit farming, in order to earn sustenance.
Comprehensive Agriculture and Rural Development Facility (CARD-F), funded by the British and Danish government, has taken an initiative to introduce alternative livelihoods through greenhouse production to the farmers growing poppy in the eastern, southern and northern provinces of Afghanistan. As part of its greenhouse intervention, CARD-F is introducing new agriculture practices and technologies and providing farmers with technical assistance to enhance their capacities and improve agriculture in rural Afghanistan. In addition to providing tools, improved seeds, fertilizer and greenhouse installation, CARD-F’s technical assistance encompasses trainings on land preparation, sowing, planting, irrigation, weeding, integrated pest and disease management, fertilizer application and best practices in harvest and post-harvest management, and market linkage. This initiative aims to increase employment, income and business opportunities for the farmers in rural Afghanistan.
So far CARD-F’s technical support and extension services have enabled Islam Gul and 45 others to become the agents of change in Helmand province. CARD-F aims to expand the boarders of its interventions to 9 new provinces and through these interventions CARD-F envisions to promote and strengthen local agriculture production and value chains and substitute imports.
Introducing good agriculture practices and technologies improves farmers’ income and production volume.
CARD-F envisions substituting all imported fresh vegetable in its target provinces during the four remaining years.
CARD-F aims to provide further employment opportunities through strengthening agriculture value chains.