By Kate McLetchie – Development & Communications Officer
With your continued support this project is increasing the household incomes of Afghan women strawberry farmers and has made remarkable progress during the past few months. In Kapisa, Parwan and rural Kabul, GPFA has worked directly with 500 strawberry producers and 10 wholesalers, building on their existing capacities and providing new opportunities to enhance their small to medium enterprises.
In our last report, we shared the exciting news that our first harvest was taking place, which yielded plenty of high quality strawberries and gave our farmers the first tangible evidence of all their hard work. We are still finalizing the numbers for this first harvest and look forward to sharing them with you in our next report. As strawberry season turned to a close, GPFA emphasized training wholesalers and farmers, providing the tools and knowledge needed to improve both production (for the farmers) and agribusiness practices (for the wholesalers).
Despite Afghanistan’s favorable growing conditions, strawberry farming is still relatively new to the country. For this reason, technical training is essential to the project’s success. GPFA staff regularly visit strawberry farmers to provide training at their farms on topics that range from irrigation to fertilizer application to weed control, and more. Our farmers are learning to perfect their harvesting and packaging techniques and learning new ways to increase the productivity of their crop. We also provided laptop computers to wholesalers and worked with them to develop sample business plans for their agribusinesses, gearing them up to partner with women producers and linking them to potential markets. This is a unique aspect of this project, as the wholesalers provide a vital link to help farmers gain access to markets.
As the holiday season approaches, it is time to start thinking about gifts for family, friends, and work colleagues. Why not make donations in their names to this project by selecting the “Gift or in Honor of” donation option? Strawberries, in medieval times, were considered symbols of peace, and as our strawberry gardens flourish, we hope to usher in a new era of peace and prosperity for our Afghan women farmers and their families. On behalf of all of us at GPFA, thank you for continued support!
P.S. We’ve included with this message a link to our new video that highlights stories of our women farmers, so you can hear first-hand from the field the impact GPFA’s programs are having on rural farm families.