Seed Distribution Program in Afghanistan
Despite years of conflict, death of family members, displacements, substantial livestock losses, destruction of productive assets, accumulation of debts, agriculture revival can be detected in Afghanistan, during the last few years. Indeed, agricultural production continued its recovery for the third consecutive year in 2004, due mainly to the timely and well distributed precipitation in major producing areas and to the increased use of fertilizer and improved seeds. However, many people remain dependent on humanitarian assistance.
In response to this situation, Islamic Relief proposed an effective food intervention ; it has distributed wheat seeds and fertilizer in order to assist the poorest of the population. Therefore, project activities to reach “seed insecure” districts are a key component of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization’s (FAO) emergency programmes in Afghanistan. The areas chosen for wheat seed/fertilizer were selected after the analysis of secondary data generated by FAO and other UN agencies. This seeds and fertilizers are distributed to especially vulnerable groups of small farmers and returnees in these two districts. A thorough monitoring system of inter-related questionnaires is used to monitor the participating beneficiaries who will in-turn make soft repayments for the seed and fertilizer received (for farmers using irrigated land).
In order to face this problem, Islamic Relief aims to make small farmers productive and self-sufficient through a soft credit programme. It is also hoped that the target area will become independent of the humanitarian assistance in a few years.
The main activities of the project are :
- Distribution of 100 tonnes of wheat seeds and 177.5 tonnes of fertilizer to at-risk small farmer ;
- Flexible in-kind repayment options for participants.
Among the beneficiaries of the programme, we can count 200 small poor farmers (mostly returnees) and their families ; 14’000 persons in total. In this project, Islamic Relief has a financial partner, the United Kingdom Foreign &Commonwealth Office, and an executive partner, the Food Agriculture Organisation. The budget amounts to 221’000 USD in 2005.