Kitchen Gardens Are a Patch of Plenty in Afghanistan

Nazira, at home in Parwan province
Nazira, at home in Parwan province.
Women learn to plant small vegetable gardens to harvest big profits
“We learned good practices, which allow us to produce more with less work."
September 2013—Nazira* cultivates a kitchen garden, selling the vegetables and earning more than she ever made as a seamstress.
“I lost my father when I was a child. It’s up to me to support my family and now I can,” she says.
Madeena also finds her kitchen garden good value. She says she was able to sell the produce right through winter.
The two women's success is the result of a USAID program—Incentives Driving Economic Alternatives for the North, East and West (IDEA-NEW). The program, which supports economic opportunities for Afghan women, teaches them to plant and maintain small vegetable gardens. Beneficiaries are then able to supplement their families’ income by selling their produce at local markets.
The project is spread across 17 of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces. In Parwan province, last season in 2012, 30 women, including Nazira and Madeena, recorded combined sales of more than $4,300. They grew horseradish, red radish, cabbage, lettuce, carrot, turnip and broccoli.
Madeena said the training was very useful and she is sharing what she learned with inquiring neighbors.
“We learned good practices, which allow us to produce more with less work,” adds Nazira.
The success of the kitchen garden project has led IDEA-NEW to  support existing commercial farms as well. The program is helping nearly 70 women in Parwan, Kapisa and Panjshir link up with wholesale markets and jam and pickle producers to ensure their farms are sustainable.
IDEA-NEW focuses on activities that promote income and job creation through increased commercial agricultural opportunities for Afghan farmers in poppy-prone areas. The program also strengthens farm-to-market linkages in its three target regions and works to grow viable agribusinesses by connecting producers, traders and buyers through market information and sales promotion.
*Full names withheld for privacy reasons.


Last updated: June 03, 2015

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