A fruit farmer, newly trained in pruning techniques, hard at work in an orchard in Nangarhar
New techniques are helping fruit farmers in eastern Afghanistan to improve yield
3 OCTOBER 2013 | NANGARHAR, AFGHANISTAN
Matiullah’s orchard produced nearly 60,000 kilos of apricots last season. It was a remarkable harvest from just two jeribs, says Matiullah, using the traditional Afghan unit, which equals 4,000 square meters. He says the yield is the result of professional pruning techniques. “We can easily control growth…not only do we get higher yields, harvesting is much easier.”
Matiullah learnt modern pruning methods as part of USAID’s Incentives Driving Economic Alternatives for the North, East and West (IDEA-NEW) support for fruit farming in eastern Afghanistan. Orchard-owners have also been given varieties of fruit trees compatible with the climate. Eastern Afghanistan was once famous for its citrus and stone fruit but many orchards were destroyed in three decades of conflict, while others gave way to fields that farmers planted with annual crops.
In January 2013, IDEA-NEW taught pruning techniques to 43 farmers selected by fruit growers’ associations from Kabul, Kunar, Nangarhar and Laghman provinces. Their skills are in great demand and each farmer can earn extra by providing pruning services to other orchard owners.