The social life of the onion: the informal regulation of the onion market in Nangarhar, Afghanistan
Onion production in Afghanistan has been expanding rapidly and is seen as a potential alternative crop to opium poppy, offering comparable financial returns. It is precisely this type of high-value vegetable crop which could drive agricultural growth in Afghanistan. Though there are many obstacles that keep rural livelihoods constrained, this paper finds that poor access to credit is not one of them - informal credit schemes based on social and political networks are readily available, in contradiction to the Comprehensive Agriculture and Rural Development Facility’s assumption. So what is holding back the Afghan onion? Poor storage conditions, poor understanding of informal networks based on trust, and resource and rent capture by the trading elite.
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