KFZ Pomegranate Orchards Motivate Farmers Eradicate Their Poppy Crops

Monday, May 1, 2017
Mr. Rahmatullah permits the tractor-driver to eradicate his two hectares poppy crop and prepare the land for new orchard establishment. He is excited about his new pomegranate orchard.
USAID/Afghanistan

Mr. Rahmatullah is a 40-year-old farmer from Wazir village of Zheray district, Kandahar. Every year, Rahmatullah and his brother Abdul Manan, cultivate poppy on their two hectares of land to support their fifteen member family. “From years, we cultivate poppies on this land to feed our children. Other licit crops do not produce sustainable income to rely on,” says Rahmatullah.

The Kandahar Food Zone program recently launched a program to assist in establishing modern pomegranate orchards for poppy growers in Kandahar. “I was amazed when selected as a KFZ beneficiary through a transparent process. Farmers like me who do not have references, hardly get assistance. KFZ is a life changer for helpless farmers,” says Rahmatullah.

He articulates, “My father and ancestors grew poppy on this two hectare land. It’s ready to yield. I spent 150,000 AFA ($2,238) on growing it, but today I am eradicating it so that our children are not engaged in poppy as we were. Pomegranate orchard will provide us secure income for future.”

In March 2017, the KFZ subcontractor for new orchards establishment, eradicated Rahmatullah’s poppy crop in preparation of his two hectares of poppy-eradicated land plus his three hectares of abandoned land for the establishment of an additional new orchard. After soil preparation is completed, the KFZ program will provide Rahmatullah with 3,470 pomegranate saplings to plant on his five hectares of land and provide him with alfalfa seed and fertilizers to grow a perennial inter-crop on his pomegranate orchards. These improvments and inputs will provide him income while the pomegranate trees mature.

Rahamatullah underlines, “Farmers that have pomegranate orchards earn more profit than poppy growing farmers. Therefore, I will stimulate other poppy growers to enroll into KFZ program, I am confident they will also eradicate their poppy for pomegranate orchards.” He was expecting approximately 750,000 AFA (US$11,194) from poppy, while after five years he expects to make approximately 3,123,000 AFA (US$46,611) annually from his five hectares of pomegranate orchard.  This equated to over 400% increase in income on this land from licit crops.

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