Cooperatives a Hit in Challenging South

The Garmser Deputy District Governor shakes hands with a board member of an agricultural cooperative as he hands over the keys t
The Garmser Deputy District Governor shakes hands with a board member of an agricultural cooperative as he hands over the keys to the tractors and other heavy agricultural equipment the cooperative has just received from AVIPA Plus at a grants distributio
IRD/AVIPA Plus
More than 365 new agricultural cooperatives registered with local authorities in Hilmand and Kandahar provinces.
11 OCTOBER 2010 | GARMSER DISTRICT, HILMAND PROVINCE, AFGHANISTAN
 
Tens of thousands of farmers across Hilmand and Kandahar provinces didn’t necessarily see the benefit of working with the government and cooperatives.  That perception changed because of the USAID funded Afghanistan Vouchers for Increased Production in Agriculture Plus (AVIPA Plus).
 
Three agricultural cooperatives recently received tractors, threshers, tillers, and other farm machinery at a ceremony in Garmser District of Hilmand Province.  “The machinery will more than double our production,” said an elder from the Darwishan Agricultural Association.
 
The equipment is an in-kind grant, one of 200 AVIPA Plus program grants worth $13.5 million.
 
In south Afghanistan, where the government is slowly gaining the trust of local communities, thousands of farmers have backed the cooperatives initiative.  Cooperatives enable the government to reach a maximum number of farmers.
 
“The cooperatives help farmers work together by combining their money to acquire and share new equipment,” said the Garmser Deputy District Governor.
 
Although 365 new cooperatives and farmers’ associations in Hilmand and Kandahar provinces have registered with local authorities since the start of the program, formation of cooperatives is only the first step to create a sustainable organization.
 
Cooperative members receive training in principles, practices, and responsibilities of operating a cooperative, both from a member-owner and an administrative standpoint.  The cooperative helps leverage farmers’ income by letting them access improved technologies and providing them with market power in purchasing inputs and selling outputs.
 
“The government has worked with us to help us register,” said one Darwishan cooperative board member.  “It was easy to set up the cooperative and now we are receiving the benefits.”
 
This USAID-funded program will have a short-term impact and long-term benefits for farmers who have learned to work together and with their government.

Last updated: January 06, 2014

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