Afghanistan’s raisin farmers used to supply snacks for people around the world. For many decades through the 1970s, the country claimed about 20 percent of the global market for raisins. But years of conflict and political instability contributed to a decline in production volumes and quality, and farmers lost market share—as well as income.
Today, less than 40 percent of Afghan raisins are exported. These are traded at deep discounts compared with those from neighboring countries because they fall short of international quality and food safety standards.
The Rikweda Fruit Processing Company aims to help Afghanistan reclaim its status as a world-class raisin producer and exporter. With support from GAFSP and IFC, Rikweda has built a greenfield raisin processing plant with a production capacity of 15,000 tons per annum. IFC will invest US$3 million in financing to support the project, while GAFSP has provided a first-loss guarantee of up to $1.25 million. The project will create a market for high-quality, locally processed Afghan raisins and is expected to double Afghanistan’s raisin processing capacity as well as link the country’s raisin supply chain to global markets. Rikweda is also seeking support from USAID to employ women under the Women in Economy program, which will contribute to the company’s staffing needs at the processing facility.
- Inclusive Business
The project has the potential to improve livelihoods for approximately 3,000 smallholder farmers in remote rural areas by strengthening their access to the market. The new raisin processing plant will create a total of 50 full time jobs, of which 35 will likely be held by women. Once the facility is at full production after it opens later this year, the project will also help avoid up to 3,000 tons of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions per year as the adoption of commercial-grade processing standards will reduce losses of grapes.
Mr. Niraj H. Shah
Principal Investment Officer
Program Manager, GAFSP Private Sector Window
Tel: 202 473 3743