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Investing in Infrastructure and Alternative Agricultural Products in Southern Afghanistan

Through investment in the production of alternative agricultural products and infrastructure, the Alternative Development Program promoted legal farming activities in Southern Afghanistan.

To promote legal farming in Afghanistan’s Helmand and Kandahar provinces, Chemonics provided short-term employment opportunities and agricultural alternatives to poppy. The project also upgraded infrastructure, building a new runway for transport of locally grown products to markets (see video below), constructing agro-processing facilities, increasing electrical capacity, and improving irrigation systems.

In Helmand province, the program carried out large-scale wheat and corn seed distribution and established a poultry industry by building a hatchery and feed mill. The program also promoted production and export of fruit crops, such as pomegranates and grapes in the region.
Traditional growing seasons and crop varieties were expanded with hands-on training in various horticulture techniques, such as greenhouses and drip irrigation systems. The program also strengthened agricultural export associations by helping them double their profits in exports through expanded markets.
New varieties of high-quality seeds and technical assistance also increased farmers’ yields and income. Often marginalized as income-earners, the program empowered women by funding women-owned businesses, such as Kandahar Treasure, a profit-sharing handicraft business, employing 445 women.
Against a challenging backdrop, the Alternative Development Project worked with farmers in southern Afghanistan to improve legal livelihoods. Many of yesterday’s producers of illegal poppy crops in southern Afghanistan are now prospering as farmers of wheat, corn, poultry, fruit, and other products. In turn, they are helping to rebuild their society.
Project results:
  • 86,000 direct beneficiaries of cash-for-work programs receiving $44 million in wages
  • 26,000 hectares of farmland planted
  • 43,000 farmers trained in agricultural production
  • 800,000 stone fruit trees and 500,000 pomegranate trees planted
Project Duration: 2005 –2009


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