Strawberry Farming for 500 Afghan Women

 
$8,791
$16,209
Raised
Remaining
May 1, 2014

May Update: Preparing to Harvest

Nooria, GPFA Wholesaler
Nooria, GPFA Wholesaler

Thank you for your continued support of our project to help Afghan women develop their strawberry enterprises. Harvest season is right around the corner (it begins this month and will last through June) and our farmers have been working throughout the winter to protect their plants and prepare for the second season’s successful harvest.  

A critical part of this project is securing market access for the strawberries. By training strawberry farmers, as well as wholesalers and production advisers, we follow the strawberry harvest to the top of the value chain. During the past few months, we made follow-up visits to our strawberry producers, distributing tool kits, as well as providing training on subjects like weed control, off-season handling, and more. We visited over 30 strawberry farms and provided instruction to farmers on how to cover the plants for survival during winter and other plant protection techniques. We were also pleased to welcome new recruits, orienting new producers who expressed an interest in strawberry farming. This project also encourages wholesalers to start their own agribusinesses.  We worked further with 10 wholesalers this quarter to train them on connecting with strawberry producers in the field and potential buyers in the markets. Our end goal is to maximize the income our producers and wholesalers receive.

We continue to be inspired by the amazing Afghan women we are privileged to work with every day. We recently spoke with one of our strawberry wholesalers, Nooria, who helped her father with his produce business while growing up. Now, at the age of 19, with the support of GPFA, Nooria is running her own wholesale business to connect women strawberry producers to local and national buyers. With GPFA’s assistance, Nooria received technical training in business planning, bookkeeping, harvest handling, marketing, and financial management. We are excited to watch her business take off this season!

We hope you’ll join us in continuing to support more women farmers and small business owners like Nooria. We look forward to sending out another update this summer with highlights from the harvest season.

Nooria, GPFA Wholesaler working in the field
Nooria, GPFA Wholesaler working in the field
Nooria, GPFA Wholesaler conducting business
Nooria, GPFA Wholesaler conducting business
Jan 31, 2014

February Report from the Field

Training in the field
Training in the field

Although wintry temperatures linger on in Kabul, Kapisa, and Parwan, at GPFA we haven't let Mother Nature hinder our work with Afghan women farmers. After the growing season ended we turned our attention towards training and capacity-building activities to gear our farmers up for a successful second season. Recent months have found us in training sessions, visiting farms, conducting post-harvest evaluations, and much more -- and we could not have done it without your support! Thank you!

We are interested in finding out what works for our women farmers (and equally as important what doesn’t), and how we can maximize the benefits of best practices for them. Our staff conducted post-harvest surveys with 176 strawberry producers, analyzing the success and effectiveness of our distribution and production practices. The lessons from these surveys informed the content of subsequent training sessions with our farmers. 

There are a multitude of elements that contribute to the high-value strawberries our farmers produce, including everything from proper land preparation and adequate irrigation, to fertilizer application, and plant protection in cold weather. Our training modules are extensive and multifaceted. We visited a number of our farms, working closely with our women farmers to teach new and improved techniques of growing, harvesting, packing, and selling fresh strawberries.

In addition to practical training for our farmers in the field, our program team received business training by Kabul University professors, which included an overview of the strawberry market value chain in Afghanistan, wholesaling business basics, and business plan development concepts. They’ll take this newfound knowledge back to the field to help even more women farmers grown their small businesses.

Again, thank you so much for your support of this project! Every donation counts and we encourage you to become a monthly donor (for as little as $10 a month!) to help us reach even more women farmers. We invite you to watch this video from the field to hear from our farmers themselves and to follow us on Facebook and Twitter for regular updates on our work.

Nov 4, 2013

From Strawberry Fields to Business Entrepreneurs

Group training in strawberry production
Group training in strawberry production

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.

Links:

Aug 9, 2013

August 2013 Report

Family sampling strawberry harvest
Family sampling strawberry harvest

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!  

Hands-on training in the strawberry garden
Hands-on training in the strawberry garden
Child with strawberries
Child with strawberries
Business plan development training for wholesalers
Business plan development training for wholesalers
May 16, 2013

Strawberry Runners Planted (500,000 of them!)

Prepping the land and soil for strawberry planting
Prepping the land and soil for strawberry planting

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!

Recycled boxes used to transport strawberries
Recycled boxes used to transport strawberries
Distributing strawberry runners in recycled boxes
Distributing strawberry runners in recycled boxes

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Project Leader

Kate McLetchie

New York, NY United States

Where is this project located?