Since launching our first tree enterprises in 2004 in Guldara District, Kabul Province, GPFA’s programs have grown in scale, geographic reach and scope. With growth, our programs — focusing on developing sustainable income-generating tree-based businesses, empowering women and developing community participation and leadership — have embraced a wider range of projects.
To evaluate our impact in 2011, GPFA’s Program Evaluation Unit collected data on our projects during the year. Click here for highlights of our successes.
As of January 2012, results include the following:
Beneficiaries, Geographic Reach and Scale
- Launched 16,000 farm enterprises across 2,500 villages
- Empowered 8,700 women entrepreneurs
- 250,000 direct and indirect beneficiaries
- 9,000,000 trees planted
Farmer Entrepreneurs Increase Income
- Short-term farmer incomes have increased up to $4,000 per year from nurseries, orchard and vineyard revitalization, vegetable gardens, and sale of forestry cuttings and saplings.
- GPFA provides training and high-quality plant material and seeds to make these income increases possible, very significant in a country where the majority live on less than $3 per day.
- As newly planted trees mature, even greater income growth is expected. Small woodlot owners can earn up to $60,000 selling poplar trees after seven years’ growth.
The typical Afghan farm family relies on several sources of income. GPFA trains farmers and their families in a host of on-farm activities that add value.
- In a country that previously derived significant income from dried fruit, solar dryers that GPFA has introduced dry fruit and vegetables more efficiently and hygienically. Farmers preserve more of their produce and earn more from off-season sales.
- Bees provide additional income for farm families, even those lacking access to arable land and water. Farmers earn as much as $10 per liter for pure honey sold in local markets.
- Improved techniques and training are increasing family incomes from poultry-raising, food preservation, production of fuel briquettes from farm wastes, and more.
Farmers Increase Their Share of the Farm-to-Market Chain’s Value
Most income from tree-based enterprises in Afghanistan is realized not in-country but across the border in Pakistan, where Afghan produce and lumber products are processed and exported to other countries and sold back to Afghanistan. GPFA’s work with farmers is now expanding to encompass activities up and down the farm-to-market chain so that Afghan farmers can capture more of their products’ value. Step by step, we are implementing innovations in harvesting, packing, storage, transportation, processing and marketing.
- Program participants are seeing their incomes rise by GPFA initiatives such as underground fruit storage (a 150+% increase), allowing sales to be spread out beyond the harvest season.
- GPFA helps farmers form associations that improve the marketing and sales price of produce and access to local, affordable supplies and services.
Cascading Community Benefits
As farmers implement new initiatives, the community benefits from new seasonal and year-round employment opportunities:
- Demand increases for local goods and services.
- Fruit storage facilities require wooden crates produced by local carpenters.
- Beekeepers need protective clothing and improved hives.
- Local workers are employed off-season to clean irrigation canals.
Managing Water to Increase Productivity
Our small-scale water projects increase water use efficiency, reduce water loss and expand access to arable land:
- Using gravity-induced drip irrigation piloted by GPFA, farmers can increase their useable land area by up to 10 times utilizing the same amount of water.
- GPFA cooperates with local shura councils to engage local laborers in renovating, repairing and maintaining underground and above-ground water channels.
- More land results in increases in tree-based enterprises, food production and earnings without additional water.
- Small check dams and water harvesting projects expand land and reduce environmental degradation.
Strengthening Local Institutions and Communities
GPFA is committed not only to helping farmers produce more and better fruits, nuts, vegetables and timber; we also encourage entrepreneurship, strengthen institutions that support local community economic development, develop farmers’ technical and management skills, and encourage economic and social participation throughout the community. The results:
- Afghan involvement and control increases.
- Local leaders find solutions.
- Shuras repeatedly ask GPFA to work with their communities, leading to further successes that enhance security and strengthen community resistance to insurgents.