Extension work in North-Central and Eastern Afghanistan

Daniel Burden, Program Coordinator - International and Special Projects, Value-Added Agriculture Programs

Situation:

Through ISUE Value-Added Team outreach programs to Iowa and United States producers, processors and end-users.  It came to the attention of a United States based non-governmental aid organization (NGO) IF Hope, Wenatchee, WA, and Colorado Springs, CO, that ISU Value-added Agriculture may be of assistance for identifying and evaluating value-added processing possibilities in East Central Afghanistan.  Any increase in agricultural productivity and product value addition is seen as a means to increase regional social and political stability and the general well-being of rural stake holders.  Among several development initiatives, the NGO IF Hope has a 2-million-tree fruit- and nut-tree nursery and horticultural support program that employs more than 200 workers from five distinct tribal units.

Objective:

Objectives of the project consisted of: evaluating a communist-era olive crush (olive-oil production) and cannery facility in Jalallabad, Nangarhar Province, for possible renovation and expansion; evaluation of the Charikar, Parvan Province, state-of-the-art dehydrated vegetable facility and community-development project established by Canadian NGO Development Works International, funded by USAID through the Afghan-reconstruction USAID-RAMP program; and developing an overview of IF Hopes horticultural-development program in eastern Afghanistan with an emphasis on future collaboration between ISU and IF Hope, particularly with respect to developing horticultural-training materials and value-added agricultural opportunities.

Activities/Output:

The evaluation of the communist-era olive crush (olive-oil production) and cannery facility in Jalallabad, resulted in an on-site written report and later in-depth report on that industry and potential related value-added product development at that site.

Activities at the Charikar, Parvan Province, state-of-the-art dehydrated vegetable facility resulted in a comprehensive report on the feasibility of that type of development project in eastern Afghanistan, as well as a full contact list of equipment suppliers, consultants and marketing agents.

The review of IF Hopes horticultural-development program in eastern Afghanistan.  This involved conducting grower meetings with local farmers and tribal leaders, meeting with local authorities of the Nangarhar Development Authority and the Agriculture Faculty of Nangarhar University, as well as reviewing IF Hopes production infrastructure and outreach capacity.

The work with local development authorities, university agricultural staff, IF Hope staff, and local farmers and tribal representatives resulted in a proposed train-the-trainer agricultural-extension program.  The ISU report detailing this activity was used by IF Hope to secure a $2.5M grant (subcontract) from Development Assistance Inc. (DAI), a disbursement of USAID funding.  Additionally, a briefing paper on local opium production was prepared for IF Hope to overview a focus-group discussion conducted by reporter Celia Azenman of the New York Times on the current provincial opium-cultivation situation.

Impact/Outcomes:

IF Hope used the reports generated from ISU analysis to develop considerable funding (~$3M) for their reconstruction, education, and agricultural-improvement programs.  Information developed by ISU is being used for strategic planning with respect to value-added business-development initiatives in the areas of: fruit- and nut-product processing; vegetable- and fruit-juice production, processing and marketing; dried-vegetable processing and marketing; and the possible production of canned olives and olive oil and plantation-produced wood beams for use in traditional construction systems.

August 2006

121 Adding Value and Enhancing Agricultural Products

Page last updated: September 5, 2006
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