“Homesteading” is a lifestyle of self-reliance and self sufficiency, rooted in sustainable farming, animal husbandry, preservation of foodstuffs, and trading in natural resource commodities. Historically, Afghanistan has been an agricultural nation, where families and communities produce a majority of what they need to survive and thrive on their own land, with their own hands.
Supplemental income, from the proceeds of agricultural products and livestock trading, and work outside the family farm in skilled and unskilled labor centered around natural resources, generate the cash or barter needed for those goods not generated at home. Afghan farmers, historically responsible for 80% of Afghanistan’s GDP, and for feeding a geographically isolated nation for centuries, have always been homesteaders.
Homestead Afghanistan has developed a holistic platform of self-reliance activities, designed to address the multifaceted needs of a successful and productive family homestead. Demonstration and extension farms will produce seeds, seedlings and saplings, and house livestock breeding programs, all intended to educate and employ while supplying startup resources to beneficiary family farms and communities.
Homestead Afghanistan believes that in supporting Afghan families and communities to once again become self-sufficient and self-reliant at the family and community level, a more stable and prosperous Afghanistan, resistant to natural and political shocks, will emerge.
A broad platform of basic services and job-creating enterprises ensure our communities are healthy and empowered, giving them the best chance to build and maintain productive homesteads which meet and exceed their family’s needs. Opportunities for supplemental income, an essential input to a new and growing homestead, will be created via a series of trade schools, and associated greenhouses, shops, and work floors, where graduates will grow their careers in durable and in-demand skilled labor.
Our plan of action is scalable, beginning with feasible pilots and expanding reasonably, intelligently, and organically. Our approach is tailor-built to suit, and benefit from, Afghanistan’s local cultures, social restrictions, indigenous knowledge, and available resources and infrastructure. We will engage early, commit to continuous improvement and adaptation with results based management, and maintain an active and growing presence in-country for the long haul.
The Afghan people cannot do this on their own. Decades of foreign interventions have resulted in drastic urbanization, with many Afghans leaving family farms to fallow for jobs in the cities. Ten years of drought, and displacement, have decimated the land and the livestock of the farmers and herdsmen who remained. The most recent shocks of the withdrawal, the overnight unemployment of hundreds of thousands, the exodus of money and leadership, supply chain interruptions causing price hikes, impeding cash and food crises, and an authoritarian de facto government, have robbed Afghans of any remaining bootstraps to pull up on.
Rightfully disillusioned, facing widespread famine and economic collapse, and navigating lives turned upside-down overnight, Afghanistan needs thoughtful, measured, direct action and reengagement from the international community. Now is the time for direct action by experienced, integral, passionate and committed allies with well-considered and properly supported plans. We need to do better, we need to do it sustainably, and we need to do it now.