Addressing growth challenges in Afghanistan's livestock sectors

21 August 2019
Addressing growth challenges in Afghanistan's livestock sectors

Prime is proud to be working with Afghan agri-businesses to address longstanding growth challenges in the country’s poultry, small ruminant, dairy and other livestock sectors.

Right: Mr Qayamuddin Usmani, centre, reviews a cooperation agreement with a major dairy processing company in Kandahar, Afghanistan. Mr Usmani is a Portfolio Manager with the Afghanistan Value Chains–Livestock project (AVC-L). He is working with agri-businesses in the south of the country. AVC-L will help this company by providing technical expertise in the production of dairy products. 

It is doing this through supporting the development of several “anchor firms”, identified as having potential to engage positively with external assistance.

The ultimate aim of the three-year Afghanistan Value Chains–Livestock (AVC-L) project is to leave behind self-sufficient companies, says Prime Middle East and Africa Director Alpha Kennedy.

“It is envisioned the long-term success of these anchor firms will underpin future growth and bring direct benefits to thousands of rural households,” he says.

AVC-L is funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and is being implemented by a consortium led by USA-based firm DAI.

Prime is bringing technical depth and resources to the project, in conjunction with Texas A&M University, particularly in relation to food safety, processing, private sector business acumen and livestock product marketing.

It has employed eight members of the Afghan community as Portfolio Managers to work with anchor firms across all four of Afghanistan’s economic zones.

Mr Kennedy says the Portfolio Managers assess what the anchor firms require and help design the support packages for AVC-L to put in place to help them achieve sustained growth. For example, depending on the sector, a support package might include technical expertise from an expert in honey production or a specialist in dairy processing.

“The Portfolio Managers provide a bridge between the anchor firms and the rest of the AVC-L, providing valuable communications and coordination.”

Mr Qayamuddin Usmani, a Portfolio Manager working with anchor firms in the south of Afghanistan, says he feels energised working with firms to improve their productivity, competitiveness and profitability. This is because he knows it will eventually increase the incomes of farmers who supply them and improve their livelihoods.

Mr Usmani says the anchor firms are all facing different constraints at different stages of the value chain, such as:

♦ Lack of proper technical capacity and soft skills to operate their daily businesses

♦ Lack of financial system skills, record keeping and managerial skills

♦ Lack of capacity to plan, design, finance and implement promotional and marketing strategies

♦ Lack of access to proper sources of finance to expand their businesses

♦ Limited resources to create, strengthen and maintain backward linkages with farmers

“We identify the anchor firms’ constraints and challenges and then we work with them to identify market-based solutions in an inclusive and sustainable manner.”

One anchor firm, for example, requires more knowledge in poultry feed production and formulation.

Mr Usmani helped the company develop an application for technical assistance in this field and submitted it to AVC-L on its behalf.

“AVC-L has now initiated its collaboration with the company by providing a technical expert for a specific period of time. The technical expert will work with the company on its capacity to improve its feed formulation mechanism to ensure its quality of feed is according to market standards.”

Mr Usmani has been working in value chains, market and business development programmes in Afghanistan for more than five years.

Prior to joining the AVC-L team, he helped advance 800 micro, small and medium enterprises in the wheat, livestock and high value crop value chains in Southern Afghanistan as a value chain expert on the Regional Agricultural Development Program-South (RADP-S) project.

Dr Alan Pearson, Prime’s Group Chairman, says it's a real pleasure to have the opportunity to work closely with emerging Afghan businesses to help them grow and add value to their communities and the Afghanistan economy.

“A strong private sector is fundamental to the country’s economic security and social wellbeing. Prime’s Afghan team is leading the way in helping these businesses develop and we are very proud of them and their achievements.”