Dried Veggie Sales Ramp up Parwan Women’s Income

CHARIKAR (Pajhwok): A number of women in central Parwan province have improved their financial position by drying, processing and selling different vegetables.The women collect menthe pulegium, celery, mint, garlic leaves, dill and other stream side vegetables without paying a penny. Then they process and dry them for sale.Besides enhancing food taste, the green vegetables offer medical advantages. Some women in Jabalus Saraj and Syedkhel districts have been trained on processing and drying such plants.Parwan women say they dry vegetables in a room made of plastic or cartons on 4×4 meters area. The rooms must be properly holed and protected from dust.

The rooms are under direct sunlight so that vegetables put could be properly dried. The dried vegetables are then put in glass bottles.Women sell a kilogram of them for 200 to 500 afghanis. Agriculture and Vocational Services for Parwan Women head Nazifa Hofyani says her NGO has trained around 400 women.Over the past two years, the NGO has taught many women from Parwan, Samangan and Bamyan how to identify and dry veggies.She adds the trained individuals later shared their experience and skills with other women in their communities. The number of such professionals in the area has increased to 4,000.

Khanum Gul, 50, is one of the trained women. She told Pajhwok Afghan News previously they did not know such plants and just dried mint on dusty roofs of their homes.A resident of the Nasrullahkhel area of Syedkhel district, she can recognise many vegetables and dry them in a hygienic manner — thanks to training programme.From May to the end of November, she says: “Two of my daughters also helped me in collecting vegetables. Our economy situation is not good and my husband is busy farming and he cannot meet all our needs.”

The 50-year-old adds she earned around 100,000 afghanis from sales of dried vegetables this year which significantly boosted her income.Gul continues: “We are living in an old house and we want to earn enough money and start work on building a new home.”Her financial status was worse before she started drying vegetables. But her life has appreciably improved now and she has replaced many things in her home.

Malalai, a 45 years old woman from the Laghmani area of Charikar, also received training and has been busy selling dried plants for the past two years.Helped by two of her daughters, she earned around 150,000 afghanis this year.“Our life has improved and we have bought new cupboards and carpets for our home. Our economic condition is no much,” she acknowledges.

Besides being sold in the market, Agriculture and Vocational Services for Parwan Women also purchases dried vegetables from women.Hofyani said the products were sold like hot cakes due to proper processing. For example, the NGO purchases a kilogram of dried mint for 200 afghanis and sells it for double the price.

By Farid Tanha, Dec 01, 2016, Pajhwok Afghan News, Afghanistan