Walking the Mile

Residents are engaged in backfilling and reinforcing this part of the road.
Residents are engaged in backfilling and reinforcing this part of the road.
USAID/CDP/CADG
Residents came together to widen the only road linking area farms to a local main road
22 SEPTEMBER 2011 | HIRAT, AFGHANISTAN
 
The completed project allows trucks access to local farms. Next summer, farmers will no longer lose the majority of their crops while walking their harvests along the five mile route to the main road.
 
When summer arrives in Ordokhan, a village in Injil District near Hirat’s capital city, farmers begin harvesting wheat and tomatoes, pack the farm yields into bags, and then walk these bags to a main road. This walk, which can cover as much as five miles for some farmers, presents a severe burden. “We harvest close to eight tons of tomatoes per acre. Even if you collect only one half ton or one quarter ton of tomatoes per day, it is difficult to carry this amount by hand. We lose 70 percent of our crop because it sits in the field while we walk back and forth to the road.”
An exceptionally narrow access road leading to Ordokhan acted as a chokepoint for trucks, which forced farmers in Ordokhan, as well as neighboring Sawa and Qala Farhiha villages, to walk the five-mile distance. Trucks that did attempt to navigate the road became stuck after a few hundred meters.
 
Village elders were aware that access problems were hindering local farmers’ participation in Hirat’s widespread economic growth. To alleviate the problem, they approached the Injil District Development Shura and the district governor. The local government bodies developed a plan to improve access and presented it to USAID.
 
In June 2011, USAID, and its implementing partner, Central Asia Development Group, enlisted 408 village residents to widen and gravel more than 15 km of roads connecting the four villages. The Injil District government assisted with recruiting and provided engineers to assure the quality of stone and other project materials. The project workforce was assembled from each of the villages and was composed of multiple tribes — a meaningful accomplishment given a local history of inter-village rivalry.
 
The project was successfully completed in August 2011. Trucks are now able to access the furthest village points and residents expect to save an additional 50 percent of their crops and recover $900,000 per year in lost revenue.

Last updated: May 15, 2014

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