How turmoil in Afghanistan has impacted agriculture — a vital part of its livelihood


Afghanistan is dealing with disaster on a quantity of fronts as borders are closed, farmers Inside the nation are dealing with a drought and the financial system is in free-fall.


The 20-yr battle in Afghanistan and the Taliban takeover of The federal authorities have affected Afghans in all walks of life. Agriculture Is An important livelihood Inside the nation by A very broad margin. And as NPR’s Peter Kenyon reviews, after yrs of drought circumstances and now political factors On the border with Pakistan, The mannequin information Isn’t good.

PETER KENYON, BYLINE: I spoke with Kairullah, who works his land in Herat province in western Afghanistan, The center of the nation’s saffron manufacturing. He says it Was that a kilo of saffron might fetch as a lot as a thousand dollars, however now The worth is Decrease than $1.

KAIRULLAH: (By way of interpreter) That is typically a actually low worth, so farmers are dissatisfied as a Outcome of not solely They will not revenue, however they Want to tolerate good losses.

KENYON: He says The one hope is an injection of worldbroad assist as a Outcome of The federal authorities has carried out nothing for both saffron cultivation or export.

KAIRULLAH: (By way of interpreter) This yr There was Little or no saffron export from Afghanistan as a Outcome of the earlier authorities collapsed. And sadly, The mannequin new one acquired here to power and the worldbroad flights acquired banned. So saffron swelled Inside the palms of the farmers And no-one might promote their crops.

KENYON: Roughly 80% of the Afghan inhabitants relies upon immediately or Inimmediately on agriculture. With farmers enthroughout the second drought in 4 yrs, the United Nations says some 7 million Afghans are struggling drought-associated factors. Farmers say It is not thOn the earlier authorities was an particularly strong assister of agriculture, however A minimal of That they had A pair of packages, which Have not returned Since the Taliban took over. Former deputy minister for Agriculture and Livestock Hamdullah Hamdard says they used To current seeds and fertilizers and launch watershed administration tasks in some areas. But now, he says, that assist has disappeared, and There have been factors exporting farm produce Because of closures On the Pakistan-Afghanistan border.

HAMDULLAH HAMDARD: Proper Now’s the advertising season for A lot of the Vegatables and fruits in Afghanistan, and we see Tons factors Inside the media. Notably Inside the border, A few of the farmers’ merchandise Aren’t allowed, which actually has A very huge influence on the farming communities and on the farmers’ livelihood.

KENYON: He says worldbroad assist teams should Uncover A method to return to Afghanistan, regardmuch less of their considerations Regarding The mannequin new authorities.

HAMDARD: So far, solely the U.N. businesses are actively working in Afghanistan.

KENYON: He says Afghans Have to see The completely different worldbroad assist packages from the World Financial institution and the Asian Enchancment Financial institution Get back.

HAMDARD: So far, these packages are stopped. All staff members are On their homes.

KENYON: The U.N.’s Meals and Agriculture Group says the drought-hit harvest in Afghanistan this yr is Extra probably to be 15% under common. For Kairullah, the saffron farmer, the dangerous information is All through him Inside the crops that Not earn a dwelling income and the People who discover themselves Not there.

KAIRULLAH: (By way of interpreter) And by no means solely They’ven’t continued saffron cultivation, however already they’ve decided to destroy their already current crops to farm completely different crops, or They’ve left Afghanistan Because Of utmost poverty And clearly deserted their farming lands.

KENYON: Ancompletely different more controversial selection Can be to domesticate opium poppies. Former official Hamdullah Hamdard says It is not clear if the Taliban will Try and ban that, Because it did throughout its earlier rule. But when exhausting occasions persist, more farmers, particularly in distant areas, might return to rising the poppies, which require much less water to domesticate.

Peter Kenyon, NPR News, Islamadangerous.


Copyright © 2021 NPR. All rights reserved. Go to our internet website phrases of use and permissions pages at for further intypeation.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription course of developed with NPR. This textual content material Might be not in its final type And will Even be up So far or revised Finally. Accuracy and availability may differ. The authoritative doc of NPR’s programming is the audio doc.