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Credit: Task Force for Business and Stability Operations

Agriculture is critical to Afghanistan’s food security and a key driver of economic growth. Seventy-five percent of Afghans rely on agriculture for their livelihoods and their family’s sustenance.  The sector accounts for twenty-five percent of Afghanistan’s gross domestic product. Prior to decades of conflict, Afghanistan’s agricultural products earned a global reputation for excellence, particularly almonds, pomegranates, pistachios, raisins, and apricots. Decades of war and neglect devastated Afghanistan’s farmland, displaced millions of people, and largely destroyed the country’s existing infrastructure.


Since 2002, USAID has worked with the Afghan government, the U.S. De-partment of Agriculture, and interna-tional partners to:

  • facilitate over $354 million in in-creased sales of licit farm and non-farm products;
  • create more than 277,000 jobs through alternative livelihood and stabilization activities; and
  • bring more than 1 million hectares under improved natural resource management in areas where the ecosystem is particularly fragile.

U.S. assistance to Afghanistan’s agricultural sector focuses on creating jobs, increasing incomes and productivity, enhancing food security, and strengthening the Afghan government’s capacity to support farmers and feed the people.  USAID makes a tangible impact on the lives of farmers and their families while laying the foundation for Afghanistan’s economic growth. 


After decades of war and neglect, Afghanistan’s agriculture sector has rebounded. Working with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) since 2002, USAID supported the distribution of vouchers for seed, fertilizer, tools and technology to approximately one million farmers to jumpstart production. By 2014, USAID interventions have generated more than $354 million in sales and services for farmers and agribusinesses. USAID has trained more than 1.8 million people and provided more than 24,600 households with access to the credit needed to grow and modernize their farms. In total, USAID investments in agriculture have helped create over 277,000 new agricultural jobs.  

USAID investment in rehabilitating irrigation infrastructure increased water availability for approximately 106,000 hectares of agricultural land. Farmers were now able to grow more than one crop, increasing the total land farmed and the volume and value of the crops produced. In western Afghanistan, rehabilitating 12 canals and karezes increased cultivatable land by 8,940 hectares, benefitting over 17,000 households in 40 villages. To prevent environmental degradation and enhance the productivity of the land, USAID has supported tree planting, improved water management, reduced soil erosion, and increased water retention..

USAID supports every link in the agricultural value chain by promoting and supporting production, processing, and sales of commodities. USAID will continue to safeguard food and economic security, increase post-harvest storage capacity, encourage market-led agricultural growth, and promote women’s participation in the agriculture sector.


By facilitating access to specialized lines of credit, including financial products designed specifically for business women and farmers, USAID is supporting the development of new agribusinesses and enabling farmers to improve the quality and quantity of their products.  Since 2010, USAID has provided $53 million in loans to farming households and agribusinesses to increase farmers’ access to credit, generating more than $25 million in household income and creating thousands of full time jobs. 


The future of Afghanistan’s agricultural sector depends on expanding the customer base beyond Afghanistan’s borders.  By improving the capacity of farmers to meet international packaging and shipping standards and by organizing international agricultural trade fairs, USAID has helped open new markets to Afghan goods. USAID has facilitated agriculture export sales of fresh and dried fruit, nuts, and cashmere worth over $54 million to India, Pakistan, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom and other countries. “There is a huge market for Afghan produce in the Indian sub-continent, Southeast Asia, and the United Arab Emirates,” said Abhey Misra, an Indian buyer of Afghan raisins. “Afghanistan has improved its standard of quality and packaging. It has a good reputation.”


USAID is fighting hunger by providing critical food assistance to Afghanistan’s most vulnerable populations, including pregnant women, malnourished children under five, orphans, the indigent, and the elderly. In 2013, approximately 2.3 million beneficiaries received humanitarian assistance. USAID also responds to crises caused by natural and man-made disasters, price shocks, severe winter weather and deteriorating security by providing immediate assistance to displaced and suffering families.

Current Projects:

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Last updated: February 18, 2015

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