Onion crop seen as agro growth driver
KABUL (Pajhwok): The Afghanistan Research and Evaluation Unit said on Thursday that onion, as a high-value vegetable crop, growing in a well-resourced area with good market access, could drive agriculture growth in Afghanistan.
A study, it said that onion is a cash crop, traded as an export commodity, and its production had reportedly been expanding. Furthermore, it has been seen as a potential alternative crop to opium poppy, offering comparable returns.
Agriculture sector is seen mostly as the main pillar of economic development in Afghanistan. The government of Afghanistan in its position paper to London conference too reiterated that the agriculture sector was the largest source for job creation and poverty reduction.
Meanwhile, international donors have also invested largely on agriculture as a source for economic growth in Afghanistan. Within Afghanistan’s agricultural economy, it said there were obstacles that cross-cut social, economic, and political trajectories to keep rural livelihoods constrained.
A recent development programme, the Comprehensive Agriculture and Rural Development Facility (CARD-F), which aimed at lifting lift farmers from poverty, has focused on supporting value chains, identifying a lack of market information and access to credit systems as the primary constraints to market engagement.
This study based on evidence from the rural onion economy in Nangarhar, critically analyses and challenges this assumption. The focus of this paper is instead on the informal political and social factors embedded in local and national economies.
A key finding of this research is that there are a number of informal systems that govern the rural onion market in Nangarhar. The most prominent of these are social networks that determine trade relationships and access to informal credit schemes, and in Jalalabad, powerful local traders who have formed associations and are highly connected politically.
Download “Pajhwok” mobile App, on your smartphone to read and access latest news, features, interviews, videos and photos about Afghanistan.