This project will help 500 women in rural Afghanistan develop farm enterprises focused on strawberry production. Strawberry farming is relatively new to Afghanistan, and farmers need help learning the best care and handling of the plants and fruit. The women farmers will supply 10 wholesalers with fruit that will be packaged and sold to markets. Just a quarter-acre plot (minimum size required for this project) has the potential to yield $500 in income per year - 50% higher than the GNI.
Approximately 80 percent of Afghans depend on agriculture for their livelihoods and half of the country's gross domestic product results from agricultural activities. Afghan women comprise an estimated 54 percent of the agricultural workforce and are key actors in production, harvesting, and processing of fresh produce. Yet, rural Afghan women experience limited or no access to vital resources and services in the areas of training, extension, credit, inputs, and trading and marketing networks.
This project connects women to other women farmers and gives them a culturally acceptable space to learn new agricultural skills and come together to encourage and support one another. In addition to increasing the women's household incomes, the project also contributes fruit to their families' diets (any fruit they do not choose to sell). GPFA has partnered with one of the largest commercial farm and packing facilities in Asia to ensure a guaranteed market for the strawberries.
The incomes of at least 500 women will increase and they will have access to the tools, materials, and resources they need to successfully grow their businesses. At the same time this project will stimulate strawberry production in Afghanistan - a relatively new product despite the country's favorable growing conditions - and have a multiplier effect on food and economic security and stability in rural Afghanistan.