Photo: Andy Burridge
Thursday, June 03, 2010
Pomegranates are the main tree crop in the Arghandab Valley just west of Kandahar City in the South of Afghanistan. KC is the focus of a coming surge to try and strangle the Taliban and the AVIPA+ project (managed by International Relief & Development with whom Geoff Q-B and Eddie Vernon are working at present) has made a real effort to help farmers by planting new saplings in an effort to rehabilitate plantations and increase earnings. The project has operated in three phases, first with a cash-for-work scheme to prune the existing trees, then by replanting with pomegranates, plums and apricots, and then undertaking an IPM program. What's expected is a huge surge in yields and output, so AVIPA+ hopes to help with the construction of packing houses and upgrading the marketing chain. The hoped for result is a calming of the insurgency because happy farmers are less likely to support the radical opposition.