Grape drying houses provide sustainable income to farmers

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Faryab is a province in the north of Afghanistan and can produce 27,594 Tons of raisins per year. However, quantity has not always been accompanied by quality. Raisins lost taste and color because they were dried following old customs, by leaving them under the direct light of the sun, but also exposed to weather changes and dust.

Hashim Khan is a 53 years’ farmer and has a grape orchard in the Qisar district of Faryab. “I used to dry the grapes under the sun in an open area or on the roof of my house, so the quality was not good. The raisins were dusty and I could only have made AFN 800 for 7KG, so I could not provide economically for my family”, he said.

DACAAR, thanks to funding from the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, is implementing a project to support local farmers through the construction of grape drying houses, to increase their income by selling high-quality raisins in the Kabul Dried fruit market and international markets. Afghanistan grape production is around 1,000,100 tons per year. (MAIL report, google).

“DACAAR has facilitated training for farmers in different districts of Faryab. This training, dealing with orchard good management, maintenance and raisins processing, together with the building of drying houses has proven to be highly effective in Faryab”, said Fayaz Afghan Mal, DACAAR Field Officer in Faryab province.

“I have never worked in a trying house before, but this year I dried my raisins in one of them, and their quality improved drastically. My income has increased from AFN 800 to AFN1500 for every 7 KGs sold. With the savings, I built a shelter for my family with some facilities. I also established a solar-powered irrigation system for the orchard”, added Hashim Khan.

“DACAAR activities have a positive social and economic impact on people’s life. Because in Faryab the economy is prevalently based on agriculture, this is where DACAAR focuses its support, by establishing orchards, building grape drying houses and greenhouses for beneficiaries in Faryab,” said Salahuddin Safi DACAAR regional Manager in the Northwest region.

Faryab is now famous for producing good-quality grapes, and the demand for more infrastructure for grape drying and processing is increasing. DACAAR has supported a peer-to-peer process to allow farmers from different districts or provinces to be trained and learn best practices so they can replicate such systems also in their places, using the locally available resources.

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Written by: Razmaa Saboor

Contribution: Irshad Alamyar