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About the Author

Ladislav Kudlacek
Education project manager (Czech Republic)

Political Scientist and Economist. I worked for human rights and humanitarian NGO in India and for international NGO People in Need based in the Czech Republic as a Programme Manager for Afghanistan. In present time I work as an Education Manager. I studied Economics in Tomas Bata University and Political Science in Masaryk University in the Czech Republic and in the University of Delhi in India and Humanitarian and International Law in Helsinki University in Finland.

Post

Afghans agriculture is not just opium production

Published 13th August 2010 - 4 comments - 2239 views -

Afghans agriculture is not just opium production

Afghanistan is a country with many geographical zones. Every area can offer different natural and climate conditions. The country can offer various fruits, vegetables and grains. However, Afghanistan is not able to use these sources for its own economic growth. Many fields are full of mines, or under erosion, people lost their skills in agriculture due to the long war and living as refugees in Pakistan or Iran.

Food industry which might have capacity to process agriculture products from poor Afghans farmers almost does not exist. This is a great business for those who buy the farmers’ products for really low prices and sell them for processing in Pakistan. „ The ordinary Afghans have to buy flour and other basic food for high prices. But we do not have any other choice to sell our production, because there are only few mills or other food production factories in our country, “farmer Ahmed says.  As the additional value for Afghans farmers is very low, they have a big problem to survive.

Opium or flour?

A kind of escape from poverty is opium which is more profitable.  For an ordinary farmer in Afghanistan, who is not able to read, it is really hard to understand why his hard work on opium fields is dangerous for security situation in Afghanistan and he is not able to imagine that Europeans or Americans wish to be on the drugs from his farm. „I need to make money for my family; we can hardly buy ordinary goods. It makes difference if I make 500 dollars or 50 dollars. Everything is expensive here, “Ahmed explains.

Many farmers found the solution in joining farmers’ associations which help them sell their products. A lot of NGOs have programmes to establish new associations followed by building local capacities together for processing agricultural production. These associations build new mills for flour, manufactures for drying fruits, making jams, milk etc. Subsequently, the farmers can sell all these products for a fair price on local markets. These projects cannot change the reality that opium is more profitable, but farmers can also find a chance for normal life without producing drugs.


Category: Agriculture | Tags:


Comments

  • Luan Galani on 13th August 2010:

    Very nice post. Btw, I love your insights. Keep them coming.


  • Giedre Steikunaite on 13th August 2010:

    Very big investments are required in order to bring Afghan farmers back to cultivating grain and vegetables. Unfortunately, all that money is currently diverted to guns and more guns. How many generations in Afghanistan have not seen a life without war? I wouldn’t care much if I was growing poppies or potatoes, as long as they kept me alive and my family fed. And once again - the demand for drugs is coming from the rich world. Such a shame.


  • Perry Graham on 14th August 2010:

    The demand for drugs does indeed come from the rich world - and the profitability of these drugs comes from their illegal status in these countries. High profits allow traffickers to purchase guns to protect their profits, in the process adding to the violence and instability in the region. Afghanistan could benefit greatly if the rich world were to legalize drugs.


  • Hussam Hussein on 16th August 2010:

    Thanks for your post, didn’t know much about the Afghani agriculture.


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