Incentives Driving Economic Alternatives for the North, East, and West (IDEA-NEW)

Afghan farmers cultivate opium poppy because they need to feed their families—and for many poor rural Afghans, poppy growing is the only reliable source of cash, credit, and access to cropland. IDEA-NEW is dissuading Afghans from growing poppy by increasing access to licit, commercially viable, alternative sources of income.

Sample Activities

  • Respond rapidly to community-identified needs—for roads, water, power, local reconstruction—with projects that foster trust and infuse communities with jobs and income.
  • Build on those gains with long-term projects focusing on sustainable growth in agriculture and rural development. IDEA-NEW is working in 15 of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces and 152 priority districts.

Select Results

  • Created 25,000 full-time jobs in agriculture and the private sector.
  • Created 3,300 labor-intensive rural jobs.
  • Employed 27,000 local community members on community-identified projects, paying  $5.1 million in wages.
  • Completed 120 community-need projects.
  • Helped entrepreneurs start 1,750 rural enterprises for men and women.
  • Expanded sustainable agriculture production by 6,000 hectares.
  • Established 250 commercial and small-sized resource farms used as training grounds, where farmers are trained in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock on modern crop techniques. More than 275,000 people have been trained on these farms and through other agriculture and livestock training programs.
  • Brought 8,500 hectares of cropland under irrigation in targeted areas.
  • Trained 100,000 Ministry staff on melon-fly control. An impact study completed in November 2009 showed IDEA-NEW’s melon fly training program is increasing participant farmers’ yields by 113 percent and sales by 46 percent.
  • Provided business skills training to 1,100 men and 2,700 women.
  • Ninety-seven percent of IDEA-NEW project staff members are Afghans (350 Afghans employed, many in senior management positions).
  • IDEA-NEW prioritizes local procurement, and has procured $13 million from Afghan vendors.

Client: U.S. Agency for International Development
Contract: 2009–2015