FAO in Afghanistan

Backyard poultry production is a great source of home-based income for Afghan women


“Although we knew the benefit of eating an egg, we could not afford to buy however. We can now even consume it,” says Ms. Shagol, a resident of Omar khan village in the Paghman district of Kabul province. “We also sell the surplus eggs at the local market, and we use the money earned to cover our other daily expenses" she further added.


In rural conservative families in Afghanistan, where women usually do not get permission to work outside their houses, backyard poultry and livestock rearing have proven to be great sources of home-based income. In rural households, women normally take care of backyard poultry, producing more than 90 percent of eggs and poultry meat at local level. Backyard poultry production therefore plays a vital role in the improvement of the rural economy. Against this backdrop, FAO, under the Household Food and Livelihoods Security (HFLS) project funded by the Government of Luxemburg, recently assisted most vulnerable households in Paghman district in Kabul with backyard poultry. This intervention aimed to address the need of the most food-insecure households, especially women, to improve their household food security and livelihoods by improving backyard poultry production.


Ms. Shagol, 70, is one of the poorest women in her community living with her daughters and grandchildren. She got assisted through backyard poultry intervention, and received 30 pullets with 300 Kg of poultry feed and drinkers, wire, and vaccination. She also received technical training on better poultry management practices.


She strongly believes that since women are the primary caretaker of the households including managing livestock and poultry management, the project intervention was an excellent opportunity to support the livelihoods of the family for a person like herself. “Now that we have 30 pullets, we get 30 eggs every day; we consume ten eggs at home, and sell the remaining 20 in the market”, says Ms. Shagol. “This is a great source of income that I can earn without leaving my house, and this has largely helped me support my family” she further adds.


Paghman is one of 13 districts in the Kabul with an estimated population of 350,000 where over 85% of the people are engaged in agriculture and livestock to earn a livelihood.


The HFLS project is designed to improve the food security and livelihoods of the poorest communities in Kabul, Herat and Bamyan provinces. The project organizes the targeted households into Common Interest Groups (CIG), and provides them with sufficient skills to produce and get connected with the local markets for the sale of their surplus produce. The project, through three successive phases, has organized over 13,000 men and women farmers in more than 600 CIGs. The project has conducted several technical training to address the specific needs of the farmers’ groups, supported to link the farmers with the local markets, provide them the opportunity to market their products together, and link them with other farmers’ groups for peer-to-peer learning.