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Thursday, December 25, 2014

Ending hunger in Kunduz, Afghanistan

Last week we discussed the hunger families in Afghanistan face. This week, the story continues as we share the renewed hope that families are finding as they gain the capacity to store grain in their villages.

In Afghanistan, families are forced sell their produce at harvest time because they no way of storing the harvest – the worst time of year to sell because demand for grain is low and the supply is abundant. As a result, families receive little for their hard work and are only able to set aside a small amount of grain for themselves until the harvest the following year.

As autumn gives way to winter, families hand-grind their wheat, making flour, which will be carefully rationed out until spring. Ironically, it’s in the spring, when the next crop is planted and growing, that families experience hunger at its worst. They’ve planted the last of their grain and the flour has run out. Or maybe worse, they ate their grain, driven by hunger, and now had nothing left to plant.

Ending hunger among the families in Kunduz, Afghanistan

Initially, HOPE International Development Agency assisted hungry families by providing emergency grain supplies, both for eating and planting.

After ensuring that families had enough to eat and were able to grow a reasonable harvest, we helped them form a committee responsible for building up and managing a community grain supply. The next step was to help them build simple storage buildings to store the grain after each harvest.

The grain storage buildings made it possible for families to safely store their harvests and avoid having to sell a portion of the harvest when prices were at their lowest.

Families now have food all winter long, and if needed, can borrow grain for planting in the spring. Excess grain is now sold at a good market price in the spring when it is in high demand. But most importantly, families and their communities have a reliable source of grain throughout the year.

All of this means that families are building up their supply of grain and food. They are rebuilding their health and today, always have enough to eat. With their nutritional needs met, families are building healthy lives, strong and resilient livelihoods, and contributing to improving the local economy.