Kabul, Afghanistan, May 17, 2021 — The Government of Spain awarded US$ 263,223.00 to the Support to the Community-Based Agriculture and Rural Development— Access to International Market (Support to CBARD-AIM) project in April 2021, to build agricultural post-harvest facilities in Farah, Badghis and Nangarhar provinces by the end of 2021. These facilities will increase the target provinces’ capacity for exports of fruit and vegetables annually through post-harvest facilities, benefiting farmers in the western and eastern regions of Afghanistan.
The additional resources will support the existing CBARD-AIM, which is a UNDP project that is implemented by Roots of Peace in close coordination with the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock. The Government of Spain joins the International Bureau of Narcotics and Law Enforcement (INL) in supporting farmers and agribusinesses to transition from growing poppy to licit crops, improve their post-harvest practices and gain access to national and international markets.
Following the start of a new chapter of relations between Afghanistan and Spain after Resolute Support, the Government of Spain seeks to send a message of support to Afghanistan and to enhance civil cooperation through development aid, hence Spain's funding this project under UNDP.
Spain hereby seeks to ensure that the democratic progress achieved in the country on economic prosperity, human rights, education and the well-being of women and children are consolidated, while avoiding it again becoming a sanctuary for terrorist groups and illegal drug trade.
Support to CBARD-AIM will work with farmers, agribusinesses and exporters in Farah, Badghis and Nangarhar provinces to grow high-value fruits, nuts and vegetables and train them in improved sorting, grading and packaging. These high-quality and value-added products receive higher returns at regional and international markets.
“As part of UNDP’s inclusive economic transformation for all programme, we work with the relevant government entities and local communities to encourage high value licit crops, improve quality and quantity by building green houses and orchards, and support farmers with cold chains and reaching to local and international markets,” said Abdallah Al Dardari, UNDP’s Resident Representative for Afghanistan. “I am grateful to the support of INL over the past few years and appreciate this additional funding from the Spanish government which will help connect the dots in this value chain.”
Supplying better-quality products on a regular basis to regional and international markets increases incomes of target farmers and exporters and promotes licit commercial activities in active poppy-producing regions.
"During the past 20 years working closely with Afghan farmers, we have learned that fruit, nuts and vegetables from Afghanistan are in higher demand in regional and international markets, and we have witnessed that investing in them increases the returns of farmers and agribusiness," said Heidi Kuhn, Founder and CEO of Roots of Peace. "We thank the Government of Spain for awarding this generous funding that will help Afghan farmers improve the value of their products and empower Roots of Peace to continue cultivating peace through agriculture in Afghanistan."
Lack of cold chain facilities is a pressing issue for local agricultural products. Fruits and vegetables are perishable products, and it is estimated that in Afghanistan 30 percent of the fresh fruit and 20 percent of the vegetables perish because of rapid quality deterioration after harvest, mainly due to poor product handling and improper storage. Further, about 40 percent of fresh fruit and 40 percent of vegetables lose their value before they get to consumers. Building cold storage and processing facilities will reduce these wastes and ensure higher returns for Afghan farmers and producers.