As the leaves start falling, our Afghan farmers are eagerly anticipating the planting of their fruit trees. Project funding to date will allow us to support 10 farmers with around 50 fruit trees each (enough to cover half a jerib of land). In addition to receiving their saplings before the end of the month, the farmers have been trained on the basics of planting, pruning, growth and pest control, tree nutrition, irrigation, and harvesting.
On behalf of our farmers and everyone at GPFA, thank you for helping to make this project possible. These fruit trees will provide increased income for Afghan families, as well as enrich the environment by improving the water, soil and air supply. Thank you!
With the spring strawberry harvest completed and preparation for the fall harvest underway, GPFA is excited to send this dispatch from the field so you can see firsthand how your project support is being put to work.
Now in the second year of our project, we are proud to report strawberries have proven to be a highly worthwhile investment for our 500 Afghan women farmers! We are meeting our project goals by moving women up the value chain and getting them involved in sales; both strawberry producers and wholesalers are making sales and earning incomes for their families. Based on GPFA’s most recent evaluation, this income is projected to grow in subsequent years as yields continue to increase. As one farmer tells us, “I will continue selling strawberries because this fruit has more profit than other fruits and vegetables.”
Since our last report GPFA has followed both producers and wholesalers to monitor the project’s success, all the while providing additional training focused on harvesting, sales, and market connections. Afghan farmers see strawberries as a low-investment, high-return crop that earns income; the introduction of strawberry as a farm production activity has generated interest in communities where most people had never heard of strawberries before! This newfound interest has sparked innovative marketing and sales strategies as well. For instance, one entrepreneurial producer decided to sell her strawberries near a tourist area for picnickers, and as a result earned a premium over the sales price in the local bazaar shops.
With your continued support GPFA will not only ensure a successful fall harvest for these women farmers, but will be able to scale this project to train even more women strawberry producers, and wholesalers as part of our 2014-2015 cohort. On behalf of all of us at GPFA, thank you for helping us bring new agricultural and small business opportunities to Afghan farmers and their families. We couldn’t do it without you!