Soybeans in the Agriculture Rehabilitation of Afghanistan Initiative (SARAI)

The Problem: Agriculture is essential in Afghanistan, representing 50% of the country’s GDP and supporting 85% of its people. Securing water for agricultural and personal use remains a challenge, and due to ongoing conflict, much of Afghanistan’s agro-processing industry has deteriorated, draining physical assets and human know-how.

The Solution: The warm climate of Northern Afghanistan is ideal for growing soybeans, a previously underutilized commodity. To revitalize agricultural growth in Northern Afghanistan, our team supported local farmers to develop and improve soybean production practices and access markets. This involved establishing community-led agricultural and water management committees; improving irrigation systems and farm-to-market roadways through cash-for-work programs; provision of agriculture-related microcredit loans; farmer training in soybean practices; development of harvest collection procedures; and construction of soybean demonstration plots.

The Impact: 6 community committees established and mobilized; More than 50km of roadways constructed or rehabilitated; 100 communities with improved access to water; Irrigated land productivity increased by 135-200%; Over $450,000 injected into local markets through cash-for-work employment opportunities; 1468 micro and small scale loans provided; 13,024 farmers provided training; and 102 demonstration plots established.

Funder: USDA Food for Progress through WISHH and ASA
Duration: 2010-2013