Food security in northern Afghanistan
Title: Promotion of food security in northern Afghanistan
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Lead executing agency: Department of Rural Development and Rehabilitation (DRRD)
Overall term: 2012 to 2016
Many Afghans are still affected by extreme poverty, illiteracy and food insecurity. More than 31 per cent of the people do not have a sufficient supply of food; of all children under five years of age, about half are considered chronically undernourished and over 70 per cent are affected by nutrient deficiencies due to imbalanced diets.
More than 55 per cent of the population engage in agriculture to provide food for themselves and as a source of income. Despite a high agricultural potential, productivity is low because of inappropriate and cultivation practices, extreme weather events that are often unpredictable, soil erosion and the degeneration of arable soils.
The land available for cultivation is frequently insufficient to provide a household with enough supplies to last through the winter. There is often a lack of irrigation options or access to markets and trade. Households headed by women are particularly vulnerable to food insecurity since, due to the roles ascribed to them by tradition and religion, they have few alternative means of generating income. Land ownership, or the ability to cultivate land is also severely limited for women.
Food security has improved in selected vulnerable communities in rural areas of the provinces of Takhar and Badakhshan.
The project works with local administrations, community councils and self-help groups in remote communities to plan activities to increase people’s food security. The focus is on imparting knowledge and skills to members of these groups in order to increase agricultural productivity. The project advises households on their use of food. As further support to the communities, it also contributes to the administrative and operative costs.
The project finances material goods, such as tools and inputs, not only for production, but also for the processing of agricultural products by the people themselves. The farmers attend training events and courses to acquire the necessary skills for this.
The project is co-financed by the European Union.
Improved seeds have been distributed to more than 1,400 farming households in 21 villages. More than 5,000 trees have been planted and courses have been held in ‘farmer field schools’ to increase agricultural production. Practical training sessions have been held for women on the topic of domestic and kitchen gardens. This included the creation of at least one demonstration field per village.
Moreover, to improve storage capacity, warehouses with capacity for at least 800 tonnes of grain have been built in the 21 communities.