AGRICULTURAL CREDIT = ECONOMIC FREEDOM

Orgun is a district located in the margins of Patika province in Afghanistan. The main economic activity in the district is the collection, processing and trade of pine nuts, one of the world's most expensive food ingredients.

In 2005 a group of traders formed the Paktika Orgun Pine Nut Association, seeking to collaborate in order to increase the competitiveness of their product, while finding ways to bypass Pakistani traders. Pakistani wholesalers would typically provide Afghan traders with small cash advances to purchase the pine nuts from collectors and deliver them to Lahore, where prices were barely high enough to pay for transport.

In 2012 the Agricultural Development Fund (ADF) provided the association with an Islamic loan for AFN 15,000,000 structured as Wakala with Arbun, which provided the association with the means to provide cash advances to 800 rural households.

The benefits of this loan were immediately obvious, the association is selling their product in China, at prices substantially higher than those paid in Pakistan; because Chinese importers require better quality, the association is employing a large number of women in the process in exchange for regular compensation. This is relevant since before the loan, women would extract the seeds from the cones and would only receive the pine cones as payment.

This is one of many ways in which agricultural credit is providing rural households with economic freedom, prosperity and social stability.

Paktitka Urgun Pine Nuts Association is one of over 200 ADF clients in 32 provinces of Afghanistan.

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