In the 1970s, Afghanistan was self-sufficient in food production and a major exporter of dried fruit and nuts. Now it ranks as one of the world’s poorest countries. War, deforestation and drought have resulted in loss of agricultural livelihoods, hunger, high rates of child mortality and dependency on food aid.
Once the “Orchard of Central Asia”
In the 1970s, Afghanistan was well known for abundant harvests of high-quality fruit and nuts that were exported around the world. 20% of the world’s raisins were Afghan-grown. The country was recognized as the “Orchard of Central Asia,” and prospering farms, vineyards and old-growth forests dotted the landscapes. Since then, three decades of war have destroyed an estimated 60% to 80% of the country’s orchards and vineyards, devastating the country’s economy and natural environment and creating widespread human suffering. After these years of conflict, drought and overgrazing, just 2% of Afghanistan is forested today.
Since 2004, when GPFA launched operations in Afghanistan, we have helped thousands of Afghan farm families reverse this tragic cycle and significantly increase their income and food supplies. These initiatives are described in our Programs and Partnerships sections.