FAO in Afghanistan

The story of a women trainer fighting for the rights of women

One of the canals is Shaflan – one of Hari Rud’s main and oldest canals. More than 60,000 people from 26 villages depend on it to grow food.

As part of the rehabilitation of Shaflan Canal, the project ensured the construction of one intake structure, 23 water dividers, seven water outlets, two aqueducts, three protection wall and 13 drop structures.

Ms. Gulnisa, a mother of seven children, lives in Layuba village around 10 km away from the local market in Faizabad, the capital district of Badakhshan, which is a north eastern province of the country. Badakhshan is one of the most food insecure, remote provinces in Afghanistan with scattered villages isolated by high mountains and frequently affected by harsh weather. Badakhshan is also among the provinces that has the highest child malnutrition and mothers mortality rate in the country.

Mrs. Qudsia produces approximately 300 liters of milk per day from 30 cows. She processes the milk into yoghurt, dry drip, drip butter and other dairy products which she sells to many consumers in village and in provincial market; many consumers pay for their products in advance. In Afghanistan, livestock represents the main source of income-generation for thousands of families whose cattle are their main source of livelihoods. The main challenges for domestic dairy producers in Afghanistan have been lack of access to markets for their products and animal health services. Animal husbandry is mainly traditional with many livestock disease outbreaks and high animal mortality rates.

During this impact survey, people were delighted about the resto¬ration of the irrigation scheme. The rehabilitation was successful in providing enough water to better establish orchards and timber production of 600JERIB (120ha). Planted fruit trees at community homesteads are now providing fruit. 

The idea of promoting mushroom cultivation has opened up a new window of opportunity for landless women farmers. Mushrooms have the advantage of being nutritious, easy to grow and require a lower level of start-up capital, and hence are a viable crop for women farmers to cultivate in their kitchen gardens or within their household compounds, contributing to the livelihood of their vulnerable and food insecure households.