Value chain development
The Value chain approach is currently a popular method to encourage poverty reduction and economic growth in developing countries. This approach recognises that a product moves from producer to consumer through a chain of steps. The chain starts with production, followed by harvesting and processing, and ends with marketing. In each of these steps the actors that are involved in the link add value to the product. That is why the system is called a value chain. By addressing gaps and problems all over the value chain, development organisations can significantly increase their impact on community livelihoods. Targeted pro-poor interventions include improved (access to) inputs and equipment, improved production, harvesting and processing techniques, and enhanced demand and marketing of (end) products.
DCA and value chains
Milk, cashmere, wool, pelts (karakul), eggs, and meat are examples of value chain products that DCA is working with. By supporting the livestock farmers in these value chains, DCA helps them to improve their income and supports the economic growth of the community.
Some examples of DCA value chains are:
Until recently, many cashmere goat owners were not aware of the value of cashmere wool. They were shearing their goats, leading to contamination of the cashmere with guard hair. Therefore, DCA developed specific combs for efficient harvesting of quality cashmere. In several projects, the organisation now trains owners of cashmere goats in the proper harvesting and processing techniques using these combs. It establishes special cashmere collection points, and links farmers to these collection points, guaranteeing a fair price for their product. DCA also collaborates with cashmere plants, in order to increase the market for the cashmere collected by the farmers.
In Afghanistan, dairy farming at household level is mainly done by female family members. Among these women, knowledge on personal hygiene and food safety is rather low. DCA trains female dairy farmers in milking hygiene, proper and hygienic housing of dairy cows, and zoonotic diseases. We also establish collection centres, where the milk is collected daily, processed, and transported to the market or dairy factory. In some projects, female farmers receive special churning machines for making butter milk. In other projects, DCA distributes drying trays for the production of qurut (dried yoghurt).
Poultry (layers) chain
Poor women and widows are among the most vulnerable groups in Afghanistan. Involving these women in the poultry chain is an excellent way to improve their income as well as their social status. In the DCA poultry projects, women receive some pullets, an amount of chicken feed, as well as inputs to construct a coop. Experienced poultry trainers teach them how to take care of their chicken. The women are then linked to feed suppliers, to Animal Health Service Providers, and to the local markets. For marketing purposes, DCA introduced an efficient method of egg packaging, which reduced breakages.