Afghan Projects Alternative Livelihoods

Alternative Livelihoods Project East, Orchard Planting Project, 2006-2009
USAID funded project, managed by DAI, $2,956,783

Over 90 percent of the world’s opium originates from Afghan poppies. It is estimated that one-third of the Afghan’s gross domestic product is connected to the production of poppy and the opium trade. Facing a crumbling infrastructure and severely limited economic alternatives, many Afghans have little choice but to harvest this illicit cash crop.

In response to this growing world problem, U.S. and Afghan governments created the Alternative Livelihoods Project (ALP), a five-pillared program targeting the core poppy-producing areas in the southern and northern provinces and in the eastern provinces of Nangarhar, Laghman, Nuristan and Kunar, where the ALP/East program is focused. One of the five pillars of ALP is to accelerate regional economic growth to provide licit alternatives to poppy production in these regions.

In January 2007, Roots of Peace began working with Development Alternatives Inc. (DAI) to assist in implementation of the ALP/E program. Our role is to promote the development of new orchards to increase rural farm income in Eastern Afghanistan. During this three year program we will plant over 900,000 almond, walnut, cherry, apricot, plum, prune, apple and citrus trees in small-holder orchards. Grape trials will also be conducted to test the different varietals’ compatibility with the climate of the region. We will also establish agricultural extension services for these new orchard farmers along with marketing extension services to develop more distant markets from this remote region. In support of this program, commercial nurseries are being developed by Roots of Peace in order to propagate local and imported varieties.