AFGHANISTAN: Towards a sustainable agriculture

Published on Tuesday 21 November 2017

Afghanistan is currently in the process of reconstruction after 3 decades of conflicts. The country, described as one of the world’s poorest, suffers from a chronic lack of access to food, drinking water, sanitation and health services.

In Afghanistan, a large part of the population is in a precarious situation. Barely 6% of Afghans have access to running water and 31% are threatened by food insecurity. The climate conditions are extreme. Dry and hot summers follow long winters while most people still use inefficient heating systems (fuel) that have harmful consequences on the populations and the environment.
The United Nations have ranked the country as one of the most vulnerable in the world.

Agriculture, natural resources management and collaboration

Three NGOs (Geres, Madera and SOLIDARITÉS INTERNATIONAL) decided to join forces and set up a development project for agriculture, with the support of the French Development Agency. Jean-Michel Marlaud, French Ambassador in Afghanistan, explains that the associations focused on agriculture and on the management of natural resources. The Central Highlines Programs (CHP) targeted farmers living in high altitude regions like Bamyan. The purpose was to improve the living conditions and livelihoods by increasing energy access and energy efficiency in the area.

Involving local communities through a participative approach

The NGOs developed appropriate housing technologies made with available materials and recognizing traditional buildings and cooking practices to help the families to reduce fuel consumption and to improve insulation. The veranda solution augments the global temperature in the house by almost 10 degrees: heat is captured and redistributed to walls and windows.

SOLIDARITÉS INTERNATIONAL covers specific fields of intervention: enhancing natural resource management and improving access to water, sanitation and hygiene to support rural populations. In the arid regions, accessing water to drink, irrigate crops, and provide water for livestock is crucial. SOLIDARITÉS INTERNATIONAL has rehabilitated and constructed several irrigation facilities, wells and hand pumps by involving the community for the construction through cash for work activities.