With your continued support this project is increasing the household incomes of Afghan women strawberry farmers and has made remarkable progress during the past few months. In Kapisa, Parwan and rural Kabul, GPFA has worked directly with 500 strawberry producers and 10 wholesalers, building on their existing capacities and providing new opportunities to enhance their small to medium enterprises.
In our last report, we shared the exciting news that our first harvest was taking place, which yielded plenty of high quality strawberries and gave our farmers the first tangible evidence of all their hard work. We are still finalizing the numbers for this first harvest and look forward to sharing them with you in our next report. As strawberry season turned to a close, GPFA emphasized training wholesalers and farmers, providing the tools and knowledge needed to improve both production (for the farmers) and agribusiness practices (for the wholesalers).
Despite Afghanistan's favorable growing conditions, strawberry farming is still relatively new to the country. For this reason, technical training is essential to the project’s success. GPFA staff regularly visit strawberry farmers to provide training at their farms on topics that range from irrigation to fertilizer application to weed control, and more. Our farmers are learning to perfect their harvesting and packaging techniques and learning new ways to increase the productivity of their crop. We also provided laptop computers to wholesalers and worked with them to develop sample business plans for their agribusinesses, gearing them up to partner with women producers and linking them to potential markets. This is a unique aspect of this project, as the wholesalers provide a vital link to help farmers gain access to markets.
As the holiday season approaches, it is time to start thinking about gifts for family, friends, and work colleagues. Why not make donations in their names to this project by selecting the “Gift or in Honor of” donation option? Strawberries, in medieval times, were considered symbols of peace, and as our strawberry gardens flourish, we hope to usher in a new era of peace and prosperity for our Afghan women farmers and their families. On behalf of all of us at GPFA, thank you for continued support!
P.S. We've included with this message a link to our new video that highlights stories of our women farmers, so you can hear first-hand from the field the impact GPFA's programs are having on rural farm families.
We are pleased to announce the continued success of our strawberry project in partnership with GlobalGiving! Thanks to your support, we have raised one-third of our $25,000 fundraising goal and 500 women farmers are harvesting their strawberries this month!
This past spring our women farmers planted a total of 500,000 strawberry runners. Since we last reported to you, we have provided these women training in irrigation and water management, fertilizer application, weed control, harvesting, and packaging techniques. As follow-up on this training, we are also visiting each individual strawberry farm and providing hands-on/one-on-one instructions in the field. Due to our training efforts, our women farmers are geared up for a successful first season and are gaining the lifelong skills they need to provide for themselves and their families.
We have also begun to train 10 women wholesalers. These wholesalers will work to efficiently bring the strawberries to the marketplace and allow the women farmers to make the most profit from their strawberries. During this month our farmers will harvest thousands of kilograms of strawberries to be sold in the marketplace. Although the first harvest won’t be at peak production (this will occur in second and third years), these women will be able to support themselves and their families due to their hard work and unwavering spirits. More importantly, this year's harvest represents the growth that has been made in empowering these women and launching their farm enterprises.
Please help us continue our critical work with Afghan women farmers by donating today! GlobalGiving’s Monthly Recurring donation option is an easy way to support our project for as little as $12 per month. You can also always provide a one-time donation which will provide a great boost to this project. On behalf of all of us at GPFA, a heartfelt thank you!
Nearly six months into our GlobalGiving campaign and we have already helped improve the lives of 500 Afghan women – and we have you to thank! Because of you, we have raised nearly one-third of our $25,000 fundraising goal, which is helping to make this project a reality.
Since our last report to you in February, our staff on the ground have now identified and met with all 500 women participating in this project, in the districts of Kabul, Parwan and Kapisa. All of the women have successfully completed the “Producer Orientation” training series. During late March and early April each woman received 1,000 strawberry runners to plant in their gardens, and received hands-on instruction in soil preparation and care of the plants. GPFA also implemented 28 bucket irrigation systems in the villages that were most in need as an extra measure to ensure the success of this project.
While the harvest this summer may not be at peak production (this will occur in the next couple of years), the women, with the help of GPFA staff, have already taken the next steps towards income generation – ensuring a guaranteed marketplace for their produce. In addition to securing a partnership with one of the largest commercial farm and packing facilities in Central Asia, recruitment of local women wholesalers also began. With even the smallest profit, these women’s lives, and the lives of their families, will be changed for the better. And it all started this past spring with the planting of 500,000 strawberry runners. In the coming months, we look forward to sharing stories from the field and profiling the experiences of some of the women farmers involved in this project.
We are thrilled that some of you have chosen to enroll in GlobalGiving’s “Monthly Recurring” donation option. It is an easy way to support the project (we are talking as little as $12 a month), but gives the project a big boost. You can also make tribute gift in honor of a friend, colleague, or loved one for a special occasion by choosing the “Gift or In-Honor of” option when you donate. Two great ways to continue to stay involved with this project!
Again, on behalf of all of us at GPFA – thank you!