In November 2009, my organization GME began a greenhouse unit where ladies who are nursery growers could use modern plug trays to grow their vegetable seedlings to sell to local farmers.
In my unit we started twenty-six greenhouses. But this success story belongs to Fazela. She is one of the women who now leads two others in their greenhouse in Lachapor village, in the Battikot district of Nangarhar province in east Afghanistan.
Before the greenhouses were established, the people were obliged to sow poppy. During the poppy cultivation, Fazela’s oldest son was affected by the poppy crop. She lost him, so she was very eager to change from poppy growing to vegetables.
Today she is very happy to have her own greenhouse. She is brave and intelligent and she assists and consults with her husband about their vegetable farm. They plant many different seedlings during the fall: cool weather crops like cauliflower, cabbages, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, lettuce, and cucumber.
In the spring they provide tomato, eggplant, pepper, okra, squash, and other vegetable seedlings that local farmers want.
On marketing day, when Fazela sits while selling trays of seedlings with her friends and relatives, they talk about their vegetable production and plan for the next season’s cultivation. It is such a nice, logical plan to earn savings for the benefit of her family and their future.
Each greenhouse has three women working in it so we have seventy-eight women in our greenhouses in the provinces of Nangarhar, Laghman, and Kuner.
Right now the greenhouses have orders from far around the area, so more greenhouses will be coming.
The idea of the project is to help introduce new technology in rural areas where traditional agriculture is practiced. It also establishes agribusinesses for women and gets them to produce good quality seedlings using hybrid seeds. The greenhouses cost about $8000 each.
The women want to be able to have savings from their sales. At first, they collect orders, plant the seedlings, and collect their income as they prepare the shipments of seedlings. Their income is divided into four parts. Three parts belong to the three ladies and the fourth part goes into savings for the business.
It is a good plan that should provide them with faithful incomes for life and it brings the blessing of Allah to our area.
By Mina T.
Photo by the author