The Approach

Considering other key cross-cutting issues of rural economic development and the complicated livelihoods system and strategy, the CSFO will implement effective income generation options based on the available potentials in the rural parts of Afghanistan. These options will include;

  1. Alternative Livelihoods:

The challenge to successfully introduce agriculture and non-agriculture income generating options in the project area is substantial. The two major ones are: (1) identify sound income generating options, develop appropriate extension packages and establish sustainable linkages to local and regional markets. ; And (2) achieve significant outreach in the context of limited capacities, infrastructure, and market and investment potentials. In this interest, CSFO will continue to investigate options to diversify the existing livelihoods system and identify new income generation packages.

1)   The CSFO strategy to implement this activity will be based on three pillars approach: 

  1. Development of self-sustaining farmers services along the lines of emerging government policy, with the private sector as the main service provider, following the guidance and regulation of concerned government institutions.
  1. follow a value chain approach that:
  • Guides the selection of promising income generation options that are competitive, profitable and create the highest possible employment and income opportunities.
  • Does not focus solely on project investment and support of agriculture production , but include linking , coordinating and supporting producers , processors ,traders and distributors of a particular product , with the objective of maximizing the value added in the rural areas;
  • Supporting networks and contractual arrangement on village level with the aim of involving the private sector in extension and input supply , or the generation of revenue within the chain to fund such services and
  • Places particular emphasis on making markets work for the poor.
  1. Strengthening service provision in the entire project area in two key fields – veterinary service and micro-finance. This will respond to general needs, can be standardized for all districts and villages, and can yield quick benefit with a very positive cost benefit ratio.


High value crop with good marketing potentials, intended to generate income are often niche products that require specific agro-ecological conditions and depend on many prerequisites.  Such as availability of adequate water and irrigation, markets, intermediary traders and transport infrastructures, and post harvest facilities. The development of such value chain often calls for tailor made solutions and implies restrictions with regards to its replicability.

To respond to these constraints, CSFO will;


  • Analyze market potentials, their requirement and initially focus on national and regional markets.
  • Provide market information through linking local producers with information providers and media.
  • Introduce a broader range of options, in particular base upon successful crops and products in pre-war Afghanistan, e.g. spices, medicinal plants, horticulture product etc.
  • Limit the scope and duration of subsidies in introducing the alternative income options, and use these subsidies only to overcome specific constraints (e.g. initial assistance until crop generate viable return).
  • Initiate the parallel establishment of financial services (micro-finance), generally acknowledge as prerequisite for the introduction of such crops and;
  • Integrate the above options into the process of integrated planning, rural governance and cooperation. At the same time, promote links to investment in infrastructure, e.g. road, small scale irrigation, energy and others.
  • CSFO will pursue close cooperation and coordination with other internationally funded projects (EC livestock, horticulture and health development projects, and USAID financed Alternative Livelihoods project – ALP) in order to assure complementarities and build synergies. Examples of these synergies includes: (1) cooperation among CSFO and other donor funded veterinary service initiatives ,resulting in both expansion of village covered , increase quality of services and optimization of resources use through regional and sectoral division of tasks and joint activities, e.g. training courses , (2) dialogue and exchange between ALP and CSFO resulting in agriculture production from both project feeding into processing and packaging innovations (promoted by CSFO) ,further up the value chain and directed at the establishment of small medium size enterprises and (3) cross- fertilization among projects and institutions with regards to micro-finance and rural banking approach , resulting in a wider range of farmers and business options and a better test base. All of these would lead to clear statement of the interrelation or products and processes, and incentives to farmers and business alike.


B.     Main Rural Economic Development Activities

  1. livestock promotion through improved breeding , feeding and veterinary services:

livestock (e.g. cattle ,sheep ,goats and poultry  – make a vital contribution to rural livelihoods , contribute to reduce vulnerability , in particular poor households , and are important resource for the economy. In total , 80 to 85% population of the project area derives part of their livelihoods from livestock. Increasing domestic demand for the whole range of animal products – much of which is presently met by imports from Pakistan – provide a good basis for the development of a viable commercial livestock sector. This can be primarily achieved by increasing animal productivity through reducing losses by simple low – cost interventions and improved husbandry.

  1. promotion of specific Alternative Income Options:

The establishment of alternative income generation depends on demand led and market orientated income opportunities and the provision of respective services and resources for extension. In line with government policy, on farm extension services will eventually organized through farmers associations and private sector agent.  The CSFO approach will focus on product groups aimed at livelihoods promotion – horticulture, tree crops, and animal and aquaculture production. In each of these three areas the rural community will be supported through comprehensive packages of assistance and services (through government and / or contracted service providers). To achieve this, the following approach will be applied;

  • initial consultation  with communities: local needs and resources , and discussion  of potential livelihoods options;
  • identification of participating communities and commodities to be promoted;
  • Development of community based plans, taking into account local needs, capacity building, market potential, inputs, including financing, roles and responsibility, monitoring and evaluation.
  • Reaching agreement with communities and service providers
  • Implementation of community based plans , including training ( and other human resource development services), provision  of inputs and technical services ; and
  • Follow up and support, including monitoring and evaluation.
  1. Promotion of Small and Medium Enterprises

The focus will be on the activities in agriculture based value chain and MSE that follow production, namely processing and marketing, with the intent of retaining as much added value in the rural areas as possible.

  • Human capital development: Within the approach of Rural economic development, capacity building is a cross-cutting issue interlinked within each core activities 0f CSFO. These measures will particularly exert extensive efforts on;
  • Gender mainstreaming issues in poverty reduction
  • Training components on women small scale business activities (livestock, poultry, handcraft, beekeeping and honey production and etc).


  • Capacitating rural production groups in term of marketing, processing, packaging and linking. The literacy will be an integral component of this activity and basic business accounting.
  • Capacity building 0f private sector in term of providing effective demand driven marketing, cooperation in term of linking and supporting in the area of directing efforts on development of internal BUISNESS.
  • Develop and implement tailor made income generation trainings in accordance with the available business like opportunities and its potential marketing sustainability. The concepts technology and techniques will be transferred from other countries where small medium size enterprises indicated successful results in terms of rural poverty reduction and economic development. Some previously achieved skills will be developed with modern technologies techniques and backstopping ( e.g. Carpet weaving , wool production and leather tannery processing) which have been locally adopted , but have been diminished due to long lasting migration and internal conflict.
  • Improve Livelihoods for unemployment youth, men and women through Vocational and Educational Training and provide them small business.

C.    Capacity Development Activities

  • Capacity building of civil society and government institution in the areas of Human Recourse  Management , Project Management , Financial Management , Procurement , Administration ,gender equality development and advocacy.
  • Human capital development through community based capacity building in business orientated skills and training measures.
  • Introduction of agro-business and processing and packaging along with value chain procedures and integrated rural development approach.
  • Capacity development in the area of developmental cross-cutting issues (Gender Mainstreaming, Good Governance, Alternative Livelihoods Intervention, Policy Formulation and Human Capital Development initiatives).
  • Sanitation and Health Hygiene Promotion for rural population in Afghanistan