Diversification of Agriculture in Baghlan Province

Project description

Title: Diversification of Agriculture in Baghlan Province
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Afghanistan
Lead executing agency: Afghan Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock
Overall term: 2011 to 2014

Context
In Afghanistan’s Northern province of Baghlan, agriculture is the most important element in the livelihood systems of almost 90 per cent of the population. Most agricultural produce is grown on fields that have to be irrigated.

In addition to this, rearing livestock is also important for most farms. It is essential for reasons of subsistence, as well as for earning an income, and for the barter trade between villages.

The arable areas of smallholder farms are becoming increasingly fragmented due to the division of legacies between sons. More than half of all farms are now reduced to an area smaller than two hectares.

Objective
Smallholder farming households in the province of Baghlan are producing higher yields. Families’ nutrition has improved and agricultural produce is being sold in the local and regional markets.

Approach
On behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), GIZ is supporting the Afghan Ministry of Agriculture with the development of an extension centre for farmers in the Northern province of Baghlan.

Diversification is being pursued as a means of increasing the yields and incomes of smallholder farming households. Farmers have organised themselves into groups in order to participate collectively in the extension and training measures offered by the project.

Apart from the need for extension services, higher yields also depend on access to high-quality agricultural inputs, such as seed, fertiliser and pesticides, and irrigation. Support for agricultural cooperatives, cooperation with local agricultural traders, and improvements in animal health all play an important part in achieving these prerequisites. GIZ is therefore promoting networks of actors from different sectors who provide services to rural households.

Results achieved so far
The project works in 18 focal villages made up of 97 smaller settlements. It therefore reaches approximately 10,000 rural households. Separate groups of men and women are taking steps to improve the villages’ irrigation infrastructure and water management, to cultivate wheat and potatoes, to enhance the standards of cattle, sheep and poultry husbandry and to increase milk production.

Since 2012, farms supported by the project have increased their yields on irrigated agricultural land by around one third. Income has doubled due to more favourable market prices for agricultural produce. Income from livestock farming, which is mostly generated by women, increased by more than half in the same period. As a result of this positive development, the degree of self-sufficiency of rural households has increased by 35 per cent on average, which means that families living in rural areas have more food available for their own consumption.

Contact

Ambros Dotzer
ambros.dotzer@giz.de