Learn how the World Bank Group is helping countries with COVID-19 (coronavirus). Find Out

Skip to Main Navigation
FEATURE STORY April 24, 2018

Modern Agriculture is Changing the Lives of Afghan Farmers

Image

Since the National Horticulture and Livestock Project started its activities in Panjshir Province in 2008, local farmers have learned about modern horticulture. They can now plant new orchards or replace their traditional gardens with modern ones. 

Photo Credit: Rumi Consultancy/ World Bank


STORY HIGHLIGHTS

  • Traditional farming is giving way to modern alternatives, improving the crops and livelihoods of Afghan farmers in Panjshir Province.
  • Farmers learn more efficient planting techniques to increase their horticultural yields.
  • Over 400 hectares of orchards have been planted in the province paving the way for modern gardening.


BAZARAK DISTRICT, Panjshir Province – Decades of using the same agricultural methods had left Mohammad Yousuf, 42, frustrated. He was under constant pressure to produce more since his harvest was always less than expected. The traditional methods he had learned from his father was for many years the only way of cultivation and harvesting he knew.

“I used to cultivate wheat and corn, but I didn’t earn much,” says Yousuf, who has been a farmer for more than 20 years. He owns three jeribs (about 0.6 hectares) of farmland, a small plot from which he has to provide for nine family members. Although Yousuf is an experienced farmer and harvested an average of 600 kilos of wheat a year, the earnings were not enough to feed his family. He had to work as a day laborer as well to keep afloat.

In 2016, he found out about the National Horticulture and Livestock Project (NHLP) through his neighbor, Mohammad Akbar, 45. With the support of NHLP, he planted a two-jerib apple orchard in May 2016. This was the beginning of an entirely new journey. “, compared with what I was making with wheat,” says Yousuf enthusiastically.

He and Akbar live in Malaspa village in the Bazarak district of Panjshir Province in central Afghanistan. Akbar has planted five jeribs (about 1 hectare) of grapes, almonds, apples, peaches, and cherries over the past four years with NHLP’s help.

“The horticulture system used by NHLP is very different from the one we had,” says Akbar, who will harvest his orchard this year.  “.”


"We are satisfied with NHLP activities, as everything they are doing is for our benefit, and we are trying to take the most advantage of it."
Image
Saheb Nazar
Malaspa village, Panjshir Province

Image

To date, over 400 hectares of orchards have been planted in Panjshir Province under the Horticalture and Livestrok Project, institutionalizing the culture of modern gardening.

Photo Credit: Rumi Consultancy/ World Bank


Promote Better Practices

NHLP is working toward the overarching goal of increased productivity and overall production of horticultural products. It operates under the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock (MAIL) and is supported by a $190 million grant from the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund (ARTF). It began national activities in April 2013 and its work will run through the end of 2020.

, with gradual roll-out of farmer-centric agricultural services, systems, and investment support across the country. Its activities are currently implemented in 285 districts in 33 target provinces, numbers that may grow as conditions warrant. NHLP activities have three components: horticultural production, animal production and health, and implementation management and technical assistance.

Although Panjshir is a mountainous province with little farmland for cultivating grains, most of the locals engaged in this type of agriculture because they were not aware of modern horticultural methods. .

Since the NHLP started its activities in Panjshir in 2008, the inhabitants have learned about modern horticulture. They are planting new orchards or replacing their traditional gardens with modern ones. This has impacted farmers like Akbar, whose entire life has been dependent on farming and gardening. “Soon my orchard will be ready to harvest and I hope that my financial problems will end after that,” he says as prepares to work in his orchard.

NHLP covers all seven districts of Panjshir, leading to the planting of more than 2,000 jeribs (about 400 hectares) of orchards of crops, such as grapes, almonds, apples, and peaches. It has institutionalized the culture of modern gardening in the province.  “Our activities have impacted people’s views toward horticulture,” says Sefatullah Sultani, NHLP provincial coordinator for Panjshir Province.


Image
The National Horticulture and Livestock Project is working toward the overarching goal of increased productivity and overall production of horticultural products. Photo Credit: Rumi Consultancy/ World Bank

Sustainable Practices

As part of its work, NHLP established 70 horticulture groups of targeted farmers in the province. Every month, a Farmer Field School is held on different topics on new methods of irrigation, fertilization, use of pesticides, harvesting, marketing, and other related topics. .

,’’ says Saheb Nazar, 40, a resident of Malaspa village. Four years ago, Nazar planted two jeribs of cherries and followed the instructions step-by-step given by NHLP staff. He has been harvesting crops from the orchard for the past year.

“The NHLP trees are not getting any diseases because they are certified, and we take care of them much more to achieve better harvests,” says Nazar. .



Api
Api