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Transforming Lives

Women in Kunduz Province learn how to use combs to harvest valuable cashmere from their goats.

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.

Din Mohammad, a wheat farmer from the village of Sarasyab in Balkh, is grateful for USAID-funded wheat seed and fertilizer that

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.

The owner of Sudais Saud inspects cashmere waiting to be packaged for export.

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.

President Hamid Karzai and Minister of Energy and Water Ismail Khan inaugurating the power line from Uzbekistan to Kabul.

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. 

A technician switches on the Dodarak Micro-Hydropower Plant for the first time.`

Electricity heats homes, provides light, and powers businesses, contributing to economic growth and higher living standards.  While Afghanistan’s power grid does not yet provide for the entire country, USAID support is bringing electricity to remote villages through the construction of approximately 300 micro-hydropower plants and solar and wind power systems.  Hydropower plants harness the energy of moving water, creating electricity out of a renewable natural resource.

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Last updated: October 24, 2016

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