Gunbaz Balocha village is located in remote Badakhshan province along the Kishim-Fayzabad Road. USAID is currently reconstructing the entire 103-km road, along with its bridges and drainage structures. Roads such as Kishim-Fayzabad provide many social and economic benefits to residents – and road construction brings jobs and prosperity to communities like Gunbaz Balocha.
A new cardboard box factory in Kandahar allows valuable Afghan exports to reach international markets undamaged. Alleviating a significant export challenge, this production facility produces inexpensive, high-quality containers for shipping exports, such as fresh fruits, vegetables, and other perishable and/or fragile goods. With support from USAID, the Dried Fruit Export Association began operation of the factory in September 2008.
Increasing the capacity to store seeds for future planting seasons is key to the sustainability and growth of the agriculture sector in Afghanistan. USAID recently assisted the Nangarhar Seed Producer and Wholesaler Association (SPWA) in the construction of a new seed storage facility in eastern Afghanistan. Previously, the association lacked an adequate storage facility where seeds could be preserved in safe, sanitary conditions and then sold according to seasonal demand.
Afghanistan contains sizable deposits of precious and semi-precious stones, including emeralds, sapphires, tourmaline, and lapis lazuli, and the gem industry has the potential to be a major driver of economic growth. In the remote eastern province of Nuristan, blue and pink tourmaline, kunzite, and aquamarine have been mined for generations. Yet, until recently, mining and selling gemstones was illegal. Legal provisions for trade in gemstones – considered the property of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan – did not exist.
Several years ago, there were only three produce merchants in the Baharak Bazaar, a market in Afghanistan’s remote northern province of Badakhshan. Today, there are 30 traders selling fresh fruits and vegetables. Farmers are growing more diverse crops and enjoying larger harvests as they take advantage of lower transportation costs resulting from a massive USAID program to build and improve roads.
Last updated: October 24, 2016