HiH Af is providing support to the local economic development of rural communities in Balkh Province. Social mobilization, basic business training, vocational training, and access to credit have greatly enhanced rural producer groups’ product quality and quantity. However, given a limited customer base, village and district level markets are usually unable to absorb the increased production output by HiH Af’s SHGs.
HiH Af seeks to expand the market opportunities of HiH Af’s SHGs by creating linkages between rural villages and districts to the regional trading centres in Mazar e-Sharif and Kabul. HiH Af will strengthen the SHGs negotiating position with buyers and decrease logistic costs through the formation of organizations such as Common Interest Groups (CIG)/Producer Groups, cooperatives and business associations in different clusters. HiH Af’s beneficiaries can retain more value by working together to negotiate better deals, share transportation and logistics service costs, and capture larger work contracts than what would be possible by a single individual or SHG.
HiH Af is working on value chain upgrading across all the economic sectors its members are engaged in. The bulk of HiH Af beneficiaries are active in agriculture and livestock production. They represent the lowest rung of their value chain, and the lowest percentage of the end product’s value. Value chain upgrading activities seek to create more value for beneficiaries through primary processing (e.g. sorting, milling, spinning wool, weaving cloth). For Afghan silk, carpets, and other high value products, HiH Af seeks to develop marketing and branding of goods so that domestic and international markets can differentiate higher quality Afghan goods from poorer quality products.