Afghanistan Agricultural Support Programme (ASP)
Afghanistan is one of the world’s poorest countries and has been beset by decades of war. As part of international peace building and reconstruction efforts, the New Zealand Government and British Government allocated funds for a three year multi-million dollar programme to modernise and improve agriculture practices in Bamyan Province. Bamyan is a remote, mountainous area in the country’s central highlands, where poverty rates are high and agriculture is the main source of livelihoods.
Prime Consulting International Ltd was contracted to design an integrated programme of support activities for Bamyan in 2011, and was subsequently awarded a contract to implement it. The design included both production-related activities as well as work to improve market returns, along with capacity building of farmers, advisors and farm support services.
Tapping into existing farmer co-operatives across four districts, Prime was able to grow farmers’ average household incomes by 35 per cent within three years. Wheat yields increased by 80 per cent, potato yields improved by 32 per cent and farmers welcomed a substantial reduction in livestock mortality. Prime provided tractors and other implements, set up a beekeeping initiative for women, improved animal health services and managed the construction and start-up of a potato packhouse.
Prime also upskilled 16 agriculture professionals, in partnership with Bamyan University and the Provincial Directorate of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock, to support ongoing development of the sector. Phase One of the ASP was completed in 2014. The New Zealand Government allocated further funding for a Phase Two programme to build on the successes of Phase One, which Prime is now implementing.
The British Government’s contribution to Phase One of the ASP was part of a broader cluster of activities known as SASA (Strengthening the Agriculture Sector in Afghanistan). The programme received an A+ score for its performance. A copy of the SASA Post Completion Report is available at devtracker.dfid.gov.uk/projects/GB-1-203474/documents/.
Prime team members involved:
- Alan Pearson
- Angus Davidson
- Grant Jeffrey
- Bill Dalton
- Alpha Kennedy
- Waqar Ahmad
- Milou Groenenberg
- Eric Neumann
- Garth Wilcox
- Tracey Edwards
- Inputs also from Dougal MacKenzie and the Kohe Baba Consultancy Services team