The Afghanistan Farm Service Alliance (AFSA) program was launched as an innovative Global Development Alliance (GDA) program dedicated to increasing the incomes of farmers in Afghanistan through the support and development of a robust input supply network. Funded in two phases, CNFA led this four-year, $9.5 million program and established 18 Farm Service Centers (FSCs) in 17 provinces, ensuring affordable and reliable access for Afghan farmers to quality inputs and services such as seeds, fertilizer, crop protection products, and agriculture extension, as well as access to credit. FSCs received matching grant funding, as well as capacity building training and business network development support. The matching grant model proved to be highly successful, with grant funding stimulating more than $49 million added sales of licit goods by FSCs.
The overall goal of AFSA was to increase the incomes of farmers in Afghanistan. To reach this goal, CNFA and its AFSA partners achieved these primary objectives:
- Established sustainable and improved commercial input supply and farm service infrastructure in Afghanistan;
- Ensured that farmers have affordable and reliable access to quality inputs and services, including seeds, fertilizers, crop protection products, and agriculture extension;
- Linked farmers to expanding cash market opportunities to help them benefit from productivity and quality improvements brought about by the use of new inputs;
- Effectively integrated women into the agricultural workforce through woman-owned FSCs and by mobilizing women farmer groups and organizations;
- Served as a pioneering example of the “Afghan First” philosophy, successfully completing a transition to an all-Afghan team in 2010.
Farm Service Center Model: CNFA built a foundation for long-term agricultural development by catalyzing the growth of rural FSCs. FSCs improve access to high-quality inputs and provide platforms for agricultural extension, access to credit, post-harvest handling, and output marketing services. CNFA trained FSC owners and managers in business and inventory management, business plan development, new business development, marketing, and record keeping.
Association Development: CNFA facilitated the creation of the Farm Service Center Association of Afghanistan (FSCAA), a business alliance of FSC owners, which acts as a steering committee to ensure the improvement of services for its member FSCs.
Women’s FSCs: In February of 2009, AFSA established the first women-owned and operated FSC in Afghanistan. The women-led FSCs offer agricultural supplies catered to products that women produce, including canned and pickled goods, and provide training specifically geared to female agriculturalists.