Utilizing solar fruit drying systems to triple the income of vegetable and fruit farmers in Afghanistan.
Kabul, Afghanistan -- (SBWIRE) -- 12/10/2014 -- Putting aside the dreary daily news of violence and political turmoil in Afghanistan, there are good things happening there every day. Afghan farmers grow grapes, apples, apricots, mulberries, figs and other fruits and vegetables to feed themselves, their families and their communities.
When the time for harvest arrives, all of the products are brought to market where economic forces prevail. The law of supply and demand dictates low prices for the produce which farmers put so much time in growing. To make matters worse, a lack of cold storage facilities due to limited access to electricity in rural areas gives the fruits and vegetables grown a very limited shelf life. If not sold for whatever price can be had at the time, the farmer if forced to live at bare subsistence levels.
Since the local Afghan market has limited capacity to absorb the high supply of produce brought to market, unethical businessmen in Afghanistan exploit the situation by buying from farmers at rock bottom prices then exporting the produce to neighboring Pakistan at higher prices leading to fat profits for the businessmen at the expense of the farmers that do practically all of the work. To add insult to injury, the Pakistani government often closes the borders at harvest time causing the fruits and vegetables to come close to rotting before they are allowed to pass over the border. As a result, the produce traders themselves take a hit to their profits because low-quality fruit brings lower profits. This leads to a vicious cycle whereby the brokers want to buy the farmer's produce at even lower prices to hedge against future losses they might encounter the next time Pakistan closes their borders.
At times, Afghans turn to violence and take up arms for higher pay or simple migration to urban areas where there is promise of better pay. The result is civil unrest and social clashes because per-acre revenue of these farms isn't enough income for a family to survive.
The goal of this crowdfunding campaign is to change all that by devoting all funds raised to create a center of commerce in the rural areas of Kabul whereby a solar fruit drying system can dry (and therefore preserve) tons of different fruits on behalf of the farmers eliminating spoilage issues, which will increase the profits of the farmer. That's because they will be able to command far higher prices for higher quality produce that is enhanced in value by drying. From there, IHFD will manage packaging and distribution enabling producers to earn much more money that will enable them to enjoy a higher quality of life.
This crowdfunding campaign ends on January 2, 2015.
The Peace Through Sustainable Economic Development Kickstarter - http://kck.st/1B11cUY
The Official IHFD Website - http://www.ihfd.com