Photo: Andy Burridge
Thursday, June 03, 2010
AFGHANISTAN - POMEGRANATE DEVELOPMENT
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.