CARD-F is supporting the vegetable value chain by providing farmers with improved seeds and high quality of agricultural inputs to improve the quantity and quality of their products. The overall purpose of these interventions are to increase production, target off-season market, improved shelf-life and storage as well enhance marketing and access to quality inputs. The following benefits are being realized so far by our target beneficiaries;
- Increased yields and income;
- Improved access to market
- Improved quality and consistency of crops;
- Improved land and water use efficiency;
- Increased control over crop nutrition;
- Decreased use of chemicals and pesticides;
- Improved resistance to adverse weather conditions;
- Increased control over insects and diseases;
- Reduced external and biological crop threats
Greenhouse production is aimed to increase the production of high quality vegetable over an extended growing season when higher selling prices can be obtained with lower inputs utilization. So far CARD-F has supported the establishment of 917 commercial scale greenhouses (1124 spans) in target districts of Nangarhar, Helmand, Badakhshan, Parwan, Kabul, Kandahar, Khost, Laghman, Kunar and Takhar provinces. In addition to the establishment of greenhouses CARD-F is providing farmers with technical assistance on advanced agricultural techniques such as trainings on land preparation, sowing, planting, irrigating, weeding, integrated pest and disease management, fertilizer application and best practices in harvest and post-harvest management. Commercial greenhouse development provides a real opportunity for a unified strategy towards agricultural growth in the horticultural sector in Bihsud. The sustainability of such development will rely on the effective knowledge sharing from research findings to extension workers and through to commercial greenhouse operators. The 917 CARD-F greenhouses (1124 spans) produce 10,491 metric tons of vegetables with a market value of about $3.4 million annually.
Open Field Production of High Value Crops
CARD-F supports farmers in high value crops production through technical assistance and training delivered to increase yield per area for two crops identified as crops that can be produced successfully in the target areas – potatoes and onions. This is linked to the storage component to ensure that farmers can receive maximum return for their investment. Following an initial survey, other crops may be added, e.g. broccoli, tomatoes, and melons. This initiative is expected to increase income and employment opportunities by producing high volume of vegetable crops. CARD-F has covered 3,146 Jeribs of land since 2013 producing mainly potatoes and onion. This initiative is benefiting 2,253 people directly and has resulted in an income of 3,457,717 USD so far.
CARD-F also assisted entrepreneurs in establishing a total of 4075 cubic meter store capacity bioclimatic stores equivalent to 2050 metric tons cumulatively, in order to take advantage of the potentially high return on investment for storing potatoes, onions and other crops. These bioclimatic stores will increase the price of the crops significantly by supplying the crops during off-season in the marketplace. So far CARD-F has established 76 bioclimatic stores in Kishm and Khash districts of Badakhshan and two bioclimatic stores in central districts of Logar province. The cumulative capacity of these bioclimatic stores is 2050 metric tons at any given time.
Establishment of Producers’ Association
CARD-F assures the sustainability of its interventions by supporting the establishment of a Producers Association. CARD-F supports the development of such Associations through technical assistance and trainings focused on marketing and in particular training farmers in grading and packing of their products and other business related issues. Contingency funding is also made available for the Associations to take ownership of a pack house or warehouse that would be used for product assembly, as well as for offices/meeting space and storage of inputs. CARD-F has supported more than 9 associations in their establishment that are active in supporting not only the member farmers but also other farmers and traders.
Harvest and post-harvest management
CARD-F is supporting the production of protected and unprotected vegetable and crops and in order to ensure that the high quality of products are delivered to the consumers CARD-F provides farmers with trainings on harvest and post-harvest management. This initiative results in acquiring higher value for the harvested products and significantly reduces the loss in post-harvest handling. In addition, farmers learn to effectively grade and sort their products and acquire best deals for their products.
CARD-F continuously provides extension services through its extension team hired under each intervention. Extension services agents ensure an efficient flow of support to farmers and entrepreneur in their daily activities. CARD-F ensures that the extension service providers understand the basic components of introductory plant production prior to addressing more technical and scientific issues related to plant health. An overall knowledge of what is essential for a successful grower. Some of the modules under training and extension services covered are as follows:
- Propagation techniques
- Crop and variety selection
- Seed propagation
- Planting care and harvesting
- Plant nutrient requirements
- Fertilizer sources, application and types
- Methods of mixing fertilizers
- Water quality
- Soil tests
- Grower observations
- Nutrient disorders
- Management strategies and methods
- Pest and disease profiles including
- Integrated pest management
- Fungus diseases
- Bacterial diseases
- Virus Diseases
- Post-Harvest Management
The aim of marketing trainings is to create backward and forward linkages between the input supplier, producer and the vegetable retailer as well as wholesale suppliers. CARD-F concentrates on supporting farmers to produce crops with a high potential for import substitution. In addition, CARD-F also supports the farmers to participate in the local and international agricultural fairs to showcase their products and acquire potential business deals with the local and international traders of vegetable and other crops.