Times were hard for farmers in the Panjwayi District of Kandahar Province when Haji Abdul began farming fifteen years ago.
He was never tempted to convert his farm to poppy production, which many in the district were doing at the time. He farmed his 3 hectares of grapes using the traditional methods of his forebears, opening a small shop in the city to make ends meet for his family of 14.
When CHAMP introduced vineyard trellising in the district six years ago, Hameedi visited a neighbor's farm and was amazed. "I fell in love with the clean, easy and attractive manner of trellising," he remembers.
Converting to trellising, however, would come at a cost. Participating in CHAMP required a copayment toward the cost of materials. And it meant cutting down his existing vines so that the new ones could be properly trained. It would be years before he'd see a profit.
His family was against it, but Hameedi had a long-term vision for his farm. Against his family's wishes, he signed up with CHAMP, installed trellises ... and waited.
Today Hameedi is one of the major commercial grape producers in the district. He no longer divides his time between his farm and a shop in the city. Instead, he hires laborers to help out on the farm, which is now more than his family can manage alone
His production has more than doubled, and the quality is unlike anything he had seen in the past. He plans on expanding his vineyard over another 8 hectares of dormant farmland using trellising technology. This time, he notes, he has his family's full support.
"When we converted to trellising, my wife and children weren't happy with me," he said. "Now they have a farm they can be proud of." USAID's Commercial Horticulture and Agricultural Marketing Program (CHAMP) is implemented by Roots of Peace.