Rehabilitation Association and Agriculture Development for Afghanistan (RAADA) is a non-government, non-profit organization established in 2002. The organization has started working with the vision poverty no longer exists in the world and the mission statement mitigating poverty and contributing to reconstruction and development process in Afghanistan through community-based solutions and interventions in western region of Afghanistan. RAADA has worked on livelihood, women empowerment, gender equity, human rights and advocacy, animal husbandry, agriculture and irrigation water supply, apprenticeship and internship programs, literacy and numeracy for women, health and hygiene and education in urban and rural areas. RAADA has worked with CAID, UNHCR, US Embassy, JICA, Italian Cooperation, CRS, FAO, IRC, USAID, Tawanmandi, SAI, ITERSOS CVG and Sheladia Associates Inc. Since 2005, RAADA has been providing silk worm rearing farmers, silk processors, and silk weavers with free silk worm egg boxes, toolkits, trainings on rearing, processing, production, and marketing through donor funded projects.
Realizing the importance of sericulture in Afghanistan and improving the economy of Afghan people specifically women, one of the major activities of RAADA since 2005 has been development of Silk Value Chain in Afghanistan. RAADA is mainly involved in sericulture in Herat province, which covers approximately 90% of Afghanistan silk value chain, and its activities are implemented in cooperation and direct supervision of Herat Directorate of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock.
Earlier interventions of RAADA on the silk value chain development started with silkworm eggs distribution and silk rearing and improved with silk processing and producing silk yarn, silk coloring both chemically and naturally, silk weaving both shawls and carpet weaving, silk designing both local and European market demanded designs, and marketing the silk products in national and international markets after exposing silk products in Dubai and Italy markets. The international markets were convincing as with a very small number and varieties of silk products, there were demands and customers were interested in the Afghan silk products. Right now, there are existed capacities and skills on the silk production:
One of the major contributions of RAADA in improving sericulture and silk production in Zindajan is the establishment of a woman led company for sericulture and silk production called Zanan-e-Herat Silk Production Company, which stands for Herat Women’s Silk Production Company in 2015.The company was established with the support of CAID. The active members of the company stand at 750 women and girls who are busy in silk rearing and silk weaving. The company is one of the few women led companies in the country and is exceedingly doing well. Since 2015, RAADA has been working to improve the company’s capacity in the aspect of management, silk rearing, silk weaving and silk marketing.
RAADA aims at enabling community women to work towards engaging with state and creating independent space for themselves in silk-business. To do so, RAADA needs some sources to develop the silk value chain situation in Afghanistan and empower women socially and economically. The proposed project on Socio-Economic Empowerment of Women is designed with an objective to provide a sustainable socio-economic source for women through Zanan Herat Silk Production Company development in Zindajan district of Herat province.
Moreover, now we are using the Chinese Silk Worm Eggs variety for silk rearing in Afghanistan, which produces about 38-40 kgs cocoon per a 15-gram silk worm egg box. However, the sericulture practiced in India using the Indian silk worm eggs variety produces more than 60 kgs cocoon per a 15-gram box. For this reason, RAADA plans to test Indian Silk Worm Eggs variety in Afghanistan and implement a pilot silk rearing activity in Zinda Jan Sericulture Farm to compare its result with the Chinese silk worm egg and create a competition among the suppliers of the silk worm eggs in Afghanistan to decrease the silk worm eggs boxes price too.