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In Afghanistan, greenhouses help families grow food year round

Until a few years ago, 45 year-old Wahida, a farmer and mother of six, could not afford to buy coal to heat her home. Today, she is the sole breadwinner of her family and earns enough to send all six of her children to school.

Her life changed in 2015, when she was selected to receive a micro greenhouse from the National Horticulture and Livestock Project (NHLP). Wahida, who lives in Ghafarkhel village in Hessa Awal Kohistan district, began by cultivating vegetables she was familiar with, such as cucumbers and tomatoes in the summer, and lettuce in spring and winter. Neighbors bought her surplus vegetables, earning her between 10,000 and 15,000 afghanis (around $130–195)* a month.

NHLP continues to give Wahida support to improve her horticultural skills and increase her income. “We have monthly classes on cultivating vegetables in greenhouses, where we also learn how to apply fertilizer,” says Wahida, who attends regularly. They are also taught to produce their own fertilizer from organic wastes, she says. "The program has been very beneficial to us."

Saima Sahar Saeedi, 28, NHLP social affairs officer, has seen many families in Hessa Awal Kohistan district benefit from the greenhouse initiative started in 2013 by NHLP.

“Most women in this area didn't work outside their homes,” Saima says, “so we thought it would be a good idea to provide them with something to work on and at the same time provide for their families. This greenhouse has helped us a lot. Before we couldn’t grow anything in the winter, but now we can at least grow enough to feed my family."

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