Supporting Sustainable Business Practices
Over the past few months, Spirit of America has been assisting a U.S. Special Operations Forces (SOF) team operating in western Kandahar Province in the development of a sustainable business initiative: chicken farming. The female Community Support Team (CST) working alongside the SOF unit identified a local farmer who was willing and eager to switch from cultivating poppy to starting up a legal, sustainable way to support his family. Until now, chickens and eggs had to be brought in along hot, dusty, dangerous roads from Kandahar City to support local needs, so there was a built-in market for someone in the district to support. Along with supplying a valuable food item locally and turning a farmer away from poppies, this project also gave the team an excellent opportunity to teach sustainable business practices, something that is greatly needed in this desperately poor region.
The CST initially contacted Spirit of America to link them up with expertise from our worldwide consulting partner, the Gerson Lehrmann Group (GLG). While the U.S. military has learned much about agribusiness during operations in this region, GLG offered the expertise needed to guarantee success. With the knowledge from these interactions, the CST and the farmer were able to construct a suitable coop for the chickens and collect all the necessary supplies required to make this business a success.
The farmer was presented with the first batch of 100 chickens at the beginning of August, and he has been very successful in keeping them alive. Additionally, their egg production is increasing continually. However, in order to make this project profitable – thereby demonstrating to local Afghans that there is a viable alternative to poppies – 100 more chickens were needed. Spirit of America was able to quickly step in and provide the funds necessary to obtain those extra chickens and set the farm up for truly lasting success. In the words of the CST lead, "With  chickens and the continual increase in the number of egg-laying chickens, [the farmer] will have a sustainable licit business in a district that has historically relied on poppy for income."
Your generous donations make initiatives that discourage poppy farming and improve rural entrepreneurship, thus contributing greatly towards making Afghanistan a more stable country. In turn, this keeps our troops safer and ensure success. Thank you for your support.
Afghanistan Field Rep