Every morning Sakina or one of the other women in our PARSA Farm program heads over to our cow pens early in the morning to milk the three milking cows we currently have. The process takes about an hour and results in a bucket of the freshest, most healthy organic milk in the city. We bottle it in 1.5L bottles and sell it for 100 afs (approximately 2 USD) per bottle – cheaper than the UHT filled milk sold in Kabul’s grocery stores. Our 3 cows are currently producing enough milk for about 8-12 bottles daily – and PARSA staff love the creamy, fresh milk so much that we usually buy it all out before it even reaches the bazaar!
Our PARSA Farm is a “Learn and Earn” program that allows women to learn a new valuable skill while earning a small income that comes from the returns of the farm. Our PARSA Farm currently employs 10 women who will take the agriculture skills they are acquiring back to their homes and subsequently start their own small farms in the coming years.
Based on the success of our small farm and the overwhelming demand for fresh milk and milk products, “watani” (Afghan organic) eggs, and fresh vegetables, we are planning to expand our farm into a business that will help sustain PARSA in the future, allowing us to fund some of our own programs and be less reliant on external funding sources. Large scale funding sources in Afghanistan are becoming less reliable as international attention wanes, and our farm is one example of how we are responding to this challenge and working to plan a sustainable future for PARSA and our programs.
Learning to milk a cow – it’s not as easy as it looks!