In 2017, ICARDA partnered with KIT to research gendered constraints and opportunities for fodder production systems in rural Afghanistan.
Addressing the Winter Fodder Gap in Rural Afghanistan
In Afghanistan eight million farm households rely on crop and livestock production for food, income, and as a ‘safety-net’ in times of need. However, small farmers in rural Afghanistan often struggle to sustain their livestock because of shortages in fodder and forage—the various crops that farmers use to feed their livestock. Deficiencies in the forage value chain limit animal productivity and put households at economic risk, particularly during the country’s harsh winters.
Exploring How Gender Shapes Opportunities in the Fodder Value Chains
Women play important roles in the forage value chain in Afghanistan. However, unequal social relations produce and reinforce gender-specific barriers and opportunities for smallholder farmers (both women and men) to engage with and benefit from innovation processes that aim to close the winter forage gap. Therefore, KIT developed a rigorous research design to help the project to:
- identify how gender shapes the social relations and interactions between different farmers, as well as between farmers and other actors involved in the forage system in target geographies
- explore how gender relations shape women and men’s opportunities to learn about and adopt agricultural innovations
The research project used a mixed method approach, combining literature review with qualitative and quantitative methods. Primary data were collected from three Afghan provinces through interviews and focus group discussion. KIT also facilitated workshops in Cairo and Dubai.
During the Dubai workshop, over 20 different actors from Afghanistan discussed the systemic constraints to closing the winter forage gap and the opportunities for intervention into the existing value chains for feed and fodder. Finally, through solicited diaries, five women shared their experiences of engaging directly with different forage innovation systems in rural Afghanistan. The women focused in particular on their reflections and experiences on the different ways gender interacts with innovation processes in agriculture in their villages.
Broader Work in Baghlan and Nangarhar Provinces
Findings from the research project fed into the larger “Forage options for smallholder livestock in water-scarce environments of Afghanistan” project, funded by ACIAR. The project aimed to a) enhance forage productivity within Baghlan and Nangarhar provinces of Afghanistan, and b) uncover and foster equitable and inclusive approaches for uptake of technologies nationally.
Learn More About this Project
- Journal article (forthcoming): Closing forage gaps in Afghanistan: Gender and agricultural innovation
- Working paper (forthcoming): Gender and agricultural innovation systems: Experiences from rural Afghanistan
- Blog: Fodder seeds: empowering women and closing gaps in Afghanistan
- Blog: Ulufa* – “From Seed to Feed”