Afghanistan’s women farmers will have more access to seeds, supplies and materials thanks to the opening of the Women’s Farm Service Center in Kabul today.
Afghanistan’s Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation & Livestock, Mr. Mohammad Asif Rahimi led the ceremony to formally open the center along with U.S. Ambassador Karl W. Eikenberry; Minister of Women Affairs, Ms. Husn Banu Ghazanfar; USAID Mission Director Earl Gast; and other representatives from the Afghan and United States governments.
The Kabul Women’s Farm Service Center is one of seven Farm Service Centers currently operating throughout Afghanistan, but the only one tailored specifically for women farmers. These seven Centers are the foundation for opening a nationwide network of Farm Service Centers in all 34 provinces. Benefitting more than 43,000 Afghan households, the seven Farm Service Centers in Afghanistan have created more than 235 jobs, trained more than 15,000 people, and achieved $24 million in sales from March 2008 to June 2010.
With a $3.5 million U.S. Government investment through USAID’s Afghanistan Farm Service Alliance program, this first women’s farm service center and will benefit more than 10,000 Afghan women. The center will serve as the prototype for several women's Farm Service Centers to be located throughout Afghanistan.
All the U.S. Government-supported Farm Service Centers offer high quality products such as seed, fertilizer, animal feed, tools, machinery, and greenhouse supplies. In addition, the store functions as an outlet for other female head of household enterprises, such as jams, pickles, honey, and handicrafts.
“Farm Service Centers build value chains that are of enormous importance to participating famers and their families. From ensuring know-how and quality inputs, to strengthening co-operatives, to building links with businesses and markets, an FSC is a valuable resource that makes farmers and farm communities more prosperous,” Minister Rahimi said. “Today, this new Farm Service Center targets women, a growing and important part of Afghanistan’s agricultural workforce. In terms of sound thinking, effective strategy and partnership, FSCs are important successes today and will be even more important tomorrow.”
“The United States of America is proud to support this effort and especially to assist dedicated women who are working to support their families, feed their children, and contribute to the overall growth and prosperity of the economy of Afghanistan,” Ambassador Eikenberry said. “As Afghanistan moves ahead in improving agricultural productivity, women cannot remain “invisible” in the development process. The U.S. Government encourages Afghanistan to find culturally acceptable ways for Afghan women to participate in decisions that will improve their lives and the lives of their families.”