Afghanistan—Incentives Driving Economic Alternatives for the North, East and West (IDEA-NEW)

Client: U.S. Agency for International Development

Duration: 2009-2015

Region: Eastern Europe and Central Asia

Country: Afghanistan

Solutions: Economic Growth

Afghan farmers cultivate opium poppy because they need to feed their families—and for many poor rural Afghans, poppy growing is the only reliable source of cash, credit, and access to cropland. IDEA-NEW is dissuading Afghans from growing poppy by increasing access to licit, commercially viable, alternative sources of income.

Sample Activities

  • Respond rapidly to community-identified needs—for roads, water, power, local reconstruction—with projects that foster trust and infuse communities with jobs and income.
  • Build on those gains with long-term projects focusing on sustainable growth in agriculture and rural development. IDEA-NEW is working in 15 of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces and 152 priority districts.

Select Results

  • Created 55,041 full-time equivalent jobs in agriculture, community-constructed infrastructure, and rural-business development projects and paid more than $7.8 million in wages.
  • Benefited 1,089,356 families through community-constructed infrastructure projects, agriculture-voucher programs, grants and capacity-building activities.
  • Expanded 14,522 hectares of alternative crops under cultivation.
  • Trained 497,009 farmers on approaches to increase agriculture productivity and 2,577 government line staff in areas related to their work.
  • Provided training to 15,347 business owners—including 9,804 women—to improve their business skills and increase their sales.
  • Facilitated more than $8.1 million in agricultural exports.
  • IDEA-NEW prioritizes local procurement, and has procured $13 million from Afghan vendors.
  • Provided improved care and management for more than 9.4 million livestock.
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