The Parwan Raisin Cooperative in Afghanistan is four years old and so far has 300 member farmers whose families have worked the land for many generations. Their vineyards are located on the Shomali Plain. Just North of Kabul, the Plain is known as the "Garden of Kabul" because of its ability to produce sweet and abundant produce. During the toughest of the fighting, some farmers were forced to abandon their farms but they returned as soon as they were able to with the hope that future generations will continue to work the land.
Agricultural extension officers from Mercy Corps - together with staff from Tropical Wholefoods, Adam Brett and Richard Friend - have worked with PRPC to help them develop high quality raisins for sale in the UK. Vine trellising and grape drying on mats are just two of the key interventions at farm level which have improved quality and yields. Tropical Wholefoods has also worked with two different local processors to ensure that the cooperative's raisins are washed and graded to the highest of European quality standards for export, and that any problems arising at processing level can be traced back and solved at farm level.
Recently, Sainsburys Fair Development Fund, administered by Comic Relief have given grant funding to assist the further expansion of the Fairtrade Raisin exports from PRPC