The Kandahar Food Zone (KFZ) program in Afghanistan addresses the drivers of poppy cultivation in target districts of Kandahar Province by rehabilitating irrigation infrastructure, expanding alternative livelihood opportunities, supporting small businesses and helping the Ministry of Counter Narcotics design effective alternative development policies.
To improve agricultural infrastructure, Blumont rehabilitated irrigation canals in the Panjwayi and Zhari districts of Kandahar province, reaching over 24,000 hectares of agricultural land. These improvements will benefit over 22,000 households and over 228,000 program participants. In addition, the rehabilitation projects have provided 1,700 local jobs thus far.
Blumont implements several alternative livelihood initiatives through the KFZ program which include the establishment of greenhouses in seven districts; pre- and post-harvest and marketing training in seven districts; solar drying for fruits and vegetables in five districts; vegetable production and processing jobs for women in five districts; vocational mechanical maintenance training in six districts; and vocational training in masonry in three districts.
To grow this effort, Blumont conducts capacity building training for its partner staff in the areas of Community-Based Planning to Support Alternatives to Poppy Cultivation (CBPSA-PC), Gender, Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and legal framework (strategy and policy). To date, over 350 government officials have been trained with a total of 64 training days provided. Blumont has also facilitated more than 100 CBPSA-PC sessions which allow community members to discuss their needs and grievances, improving citizen’s attitude toward their government. By improving citizens’ perception of their government’s legitimacy and services to rural communities, these meetings support a key element of counter-insurgency strategies.
The final aspect of KFZ is Shamal, a central IT system that combines field data with satellite imagery and statistical analysis to identify program needs, plan and monitor activities, and evaluate impacts. Shamal captures and processes informational needs for program staff and donors through the following functional modules: GIS and associated application; document management; project management; reporting dashboards; data management engine; field data collection; and a training resource portal. These modules allow for interaction with varied data sets in a collaborative environment with USAID, Afghanistan’s Ministry of Counter Narcotics (MCN) and other donors and partners.