In early November 2009, Afghan farmers made history with the first-ever export of their apples to India. The country’s farmers now have the opportunity to introduce their apples – some of the crunchiest, sweetest, and largest in the region – to the biggest market in South and Central Asia. USAID worked with a local trader to facilitate a trial shipment of three metric tons of apples to India.
Until recently, Afghans used their goats only for their milk, meat, wool, and leather. Now, more than 170,000 male and female goat herders are aware of the high value of cashmere and the proper methods to harvest and market this commodity.
Afghanistan’s northern and western regions have traditionally produced large volumes of wheat. Following 2008’s near-disastrous wheat harvest due to the country’s worst drought in 10 years, experts were predicting an even bleaker outlook for 2009. Last year, many farmers found themselves with limited food supplies for their families and were forced to sell off livestock to make ends meet.
Despite a slumping demand for luxury goods in the world due to the economic crisis, international markets are waking up to opportunities in Afghanistan’s nascent cashmere industry. Until recently, the value of cashmere was not recognized in the country, and much of its potential was lost when herders sheared their goats for wool. That all changed when USAID launched a nationwide campaign to increase awareness and educate male and female goat herders on how to harvest the product.
Economic development in Afghanistan depends on a steady supply of electricity to power businesses and factories, and citizens enjoy a better quality of life when electricity heats and lights their homes and schools. Afghanistan’s power grid is currently under construction following years of war and neglect. USAID and a coalition of international donors have been working with the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to provide more power to Afghan citizens.
Last updated: March 30, 2017