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Note: This material has been taken from "Provincial Development Plan, Farah Provincial Profile" prepared by the Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development (MRRD), 2007.




Farah province is located in the western part of the country, bordered by Hilmand in the east, Nimroz in the south, Herat in the north, Ghor in the northeast, and Iran in the west. The province covers an area of 47,786 km2. Nearly half (46%) of the province is mountainous or semi mountainous terrain while the other half of the area is made up of flat land (49.9%), as the following table shows:

Topography Type
Flat Mountainous Semi Mountainous Semi Flat Not Reported Total
49.9% 39.2% 6.8% 3.4% .7% 100.0%

Source: AIRD Provincial Profiles


The province is divided into 11 districts. The provincial capital is Farah City which has a population of about 109,409 inhabitants.


Demography and Population

Farah has a total population of 493,007. There are 80,183 households in the province, and households on average have 5 members. The following table shows the population by district:

Population by District and Gender
District Number of males Number of females Total population
Farah,Provincial Center 55,878 53,531 109,409
Pushtrud 18,665 17,650 36,315
Khak-i-Safed 17,517 17,083 34,600
Anar Dara 12,518 12,264 24,782
Qala-i-Kah 15,447 15,206 30,653
Shibkoh 11,607 11,406 23,013
Lash-i-Juwayn 10,433 10,066 20,499
Bakwa 20,520 19,351 39,871
Bala Buluk 37,480 34,985 72,465
Gulistan 25,503 24,271 49,774
Pur Chaman 27,037 24,589 51,626
Total 252,605 240,402 493,007

Source: CSO/UNFPA Socio Economic and Demographic Profile


Around 93% of the population of Farah lives in rural districts while 7% lives in urban areas. Around 51% of the population is male and 49% is female. Dari is spoken by 50% of the population and 544 of the 1,125 total villages in the province. The second most frequent language is Pashtu, spoken by 48% of the population and 566 villages. A third language, Balochi, is spoken in four villages.

Farah province also has a population of Kuchis or nomads whose numbers vary in different seasons. In winter 166,070 individuals, or 6.8% of the overall Kuchi population, stay in Farah living in 34 communities. Almost three quarters of these are long-range partially migratory, while 15% are short-range partially migratory and 12% settled. In the winter both groups stay mostly in one area and don’t move around during the season. In the summer season, the most important areas for long-range migratory Kuchis are Ghor and Herat provinces, while the short-range migratory Kuchis prefer the districts of Shib Koh, Anar Dara and Gulistan. The Kuchi population in the summer is 44,080 individuals.



Infrastructure and Natural Resources

The provision of basic infrastructure such as water and sanitation, energy, transport and communications is one of the key elements necessary to provide the building blocks for private sector expansion, equitable economic growth, increased employment and accelerated agricultural productivity. In Farah Province, on average only 37% of households use safe drinking water. More than three quarters (78%) of households have direct access to their main source of drinking water within their community, however one in five households (19%) has to travel for up to an hour to access drinking water, and for 3% travel to access drinking water can take up to 3 hours as the table below shows:

Time required accessing main source of drinking water
% In community Less than 1 hour 1-3 hours 3-6 hours
78 19 3 0
Source: NRVA 2005


On average only 7% of households have access to safe toilet facilities. The following table shows the kinds of toilet facilities used by households in the province:

Toilet facilities used by households

% None/ bush/ open field Dearan / Sahrah (area in compound but not pit) Open pit Traditional covered latrine Improved latrine Flush latrine
28 25 8 32 7 0
Source: NRVA 2005


In terms of meeting the basic requirements for energy, there are five power stations of different sizes with a total capacity of 1,190 KWs operating in the province. On average 9% of households in Farah province have access to electricity with 1% relying on public electricity.

The transport infrastructure in Farah is reasonably well developed, with mealy half (49%) of roads in the province able to take car traffic in all seasons, and around a third (34%) able to take car traffic in some seasons. However, in one-sixth (16%) of the province there are no roads at all.

As far as telecommunications are concerned Afghan Telecom is functional and covers Farah City and surrounding villages. In the near future, Afghan Telecom will expand their communication system in the districts as well. Both the main mobile telephone operators, Roshan and AWCC, are present in the province.


Economic Governance and Private Sector Development

Creating the conditions in which a dynamic and competitive private sector can flourish, is key to promoting economic growth, employment creation and poverty reduction. Farah is both an agricultural and an industrial province, and it is rich with minerals such as gypsum, lime and construction stones, gold, coal and uranium. In terms of industry, 15 manufacturing firms employing more 1,300 workers are working in the province.

Agriculture is the major source of revenue for half (50%) of households in Farah Province, including 56% of rural households. Forty nine percent of all households and 55% of rural households own or manage agricultural land or garden plots in the province. However, more than a fifth (21%) of all households in the province derive some income from trade and services. Around a quarter of households (25%) in both urban and rural areas earn income through non-farm related labor. Livestock also accounts for income for one in six of rural households (17%), as the following table shows:

Sources of income reported by households
Source of income Rural (%) Urban (%) Total (%)
Agriculture 56 50
Livestock 17 26
Opium 3 2
Trade and Services 24 21
Manufacture 1 1
Non-Farm Labor 24 25
Remittances 4 4
Other 4 3
Source: NRVA 2005


In 2005 there were 5 agricultural cooperatives active in Farah involving 248 members. In 2005 agricultural cooperatives controlled a total of 3,030 Hac of land and achieved a surplus of products for sale of 1,000 tons. As a result of this, each member held a share in the capital of the cooperative to the value of 54,800Afs.

Unlike agricultural or animal products, there is not a very large production of industrial products in Farah. Cotton is produced in 26 villages mainly in the districts of Anar Dara (9 villages) and Bakwa (4 villages). Tobacco is produced a total of 39 villages mainly in Pur Chaman (11 villages) and Bala Buluk (10 villages). Honey is produced in 16 villages, and silk is produced in three villages.

To all extents and purposes small industry is absent in Farah and there is there is only a small production of handicrafts mostly related to carpets, rugs, jewellery and shawls. Carpets produced in 235 villages mainly concentrating in the district of Qala-i-Kah, rugs in 179 villages mainly in Pur Chaman, and jewelry in 93 villages and shawls in 61 villages of the districts of Farah, Pushtrud, Shibko and Bakwa.

In 2005, 37% of households in Farah reported taking out loans. Of these loans, nealy one fifth (19%) were used to invest in economic activity such as business investment (19%). A further 2% were used to purchase \agricultural inputs.


Agriculture and Rural Development

Enhancing licit agricultural productivity, creating incentives for non-farm investment, developing rural infrastructure, and supporting access to skills development and financial services will allow individuals, households and communities to participate licitly and productively in the economy. As agriculture represents the major source of income for half the households in the province, rural development will be a key element of progress in Farah. The most important field crops grown in Farah province include wheat and barley. The most common crops grown in garden plots include fruit and nut trees (31%), grapes (23%), and vegetables (10%).

Nearly all (96%) of the households with access to fertilizer use this on field crops and to a much lesser degree on garden plots (1%), although 4% of households use fertilizer on both field and garden. The main types of fertilizer used by households in the province are shown in the following table:

Main Types Of Fertilizer Used By Households
Human Animal Urea DAP
% % % Average Kg per Household % Average Kg per Household
11 17 86 214.5Kg 68 163.6Kg
Source: NRVA 2005


On average 92% of households in the province have access to irrigated land, and 6% of households have access to rain-fed land.

Households (%) access to irrigated and rain-fed land

Rural Urban
Access to irrigated land 92
Access to rain-fed land 6
Source: NRVA 2005


Sixty seven percent of rural households and 91% of Kuchi households in the province own livestock or poultry. The most commonly owned livestock are goats, cattle, poultry and sheep, as the following table shows:

Households (%) owning poultry and livestock
Livestock Kuchi Rural Urban Average
Cattle 54 43 0 45
Oxen 5 9 0 9
Horses 4 0 0 1
Donkey 66 26 0 31
Camel 56 2 0 8
Goats 83 42 0 47
Sheep 75 31 0 36
Poultry 42 42 0 42
Source: NRVA 2005



Ensuring good quality education and equitable access to education and skills are some of the important ways to raise human capital, reduce poverty and facilitate economic growth. The overall literacy rate in Farah province is 21%, however, while more than one in four men are literate (27%) this is true for just over one in seven women (14%). In the population aged between 15 and 24 the situation for men is slightly better with 30% literacy, whereas for women the figure decreases to 12%. The Kuchi population in the province has particularly low levels of literacy with just 3.5% of men and 0.1% of women able to read and write.

On average 32% of children between 6 and 13 are enrolled in school, however, the figure is more than one third (37%) of boys and just over one quarter (26%) of girls enrolled. Amongst the Kuchi population, 4% of boys and 1% of girls attend school in Farah during the winter and summer months.

Overall there are 180 primary and secondary schools in the province catering for 81,048 students. Boys account for 70% of students and 84% of schools are boys’ schools. There are 2,094 teachers working in schools in the Farah province, one fifth (21%) of whom are women.

Primary and Secondary Education

Schools Students Teachers
Boys girls boys girls male female
Primary 123 24 51,703 23,029
Secondary 29 4 5,394 922
Total 152 28 57,097 23,951 1,649 445
      180 81,048 2,094
Source: CSO Afghanistan Statistical Yearbook 2006


Primary schools exist in 124 villages out of the 1,125 villages. About a quarter (23%) of students must travel up to 5 kms, while more than two in five (43%) must travel more than 10 kms to reach their closest primary schools. Secondary schools exist in 31 villages housing 3% of the population. 18% of the students must travel up to 5 kms, while two thirds (66%) of students must travel more than ten kilometres to reach their closest secondary schools. High schools exist in only 12 villages, and 12% of students travel up to 5 kms to get to school, while three quarters (75%) of students must travel more than 10 kms to reach their closest high schools.

Farah province also has a number of higher education facilities. There is an agricultural vocational high school with 14 teachers catering for a total of 147 students, all of whom are male. In 2005, 20 students graduated from this vocational high school. There is also a Teacher Training Institute which had 210 students, 72% of whom were men and 28% women. Thirty five new teachers graduated from Farah Teacher Training Institute in 2005, including 31% women and 69% men.



Ensuring the availability of basic health and hospital services, and developing human resources in the health sector is essential to reduce the incidence of disease, increase life expectancy and enable the whole population to participate in sustainable development. A basic infrastructure of health services exists in Farah province. In 2005 there were 10 health centers and one hospital with a total of 60 beds. There were also 39 doctors and 95 nurses employed by the Ministry of Health working in the province, which represented an increase of about 77% in the number of doctors (up from 22), although there was a decrease of 26% in the number of nurses (down from128) compared to 2003.

The province also has 42 pharmacies of which 40 are owned privately and 2 are run by the government.

The majority of communities do not have a health worker permanently present in their community. Seventy one percent of men’s shura and 70% of women’s shura reported that there was no community health worker present, and both groups most commonly said that their closest health facility was a Basic Health Centre (BHC) or clinic without beds. Access to health care is difficult for many people in the province. Only 1.9% of the population have a health center and 3.1% have a dispensary within their village. Nearly three out of four people (73%) have to travel more than 10 kms to reach their closest health facility.


Social Protection

Building the capacities, opportunities and security of extremely poor and vulnerable Afghans through a process of economic empowerment is essential in order to reduce poverty and increase self-reliance. The level of economic hardship in Farah is not very high compared to the other provinces. Almost a third (29%) the households in the province report having problems satisfying their food needs at least 3–6 times a year, and a similar proportion (27%) of households face this problem up to three times a year, as the following table shows:

Problems satisfying food need of the household during the last year

Never Rarely (1-3 times) Sometimes (3-6 times) Often (few times a month) Mostly (happens a lot)
Households (%) 34 27 29 6 4
Source: NRVA 2005


Around one sixth (17%) of the population in the province is estimated to receive less than the minimum daily caloric intake necessary to maintain good health. In both rural and urban areas around two fifths (38%) of the population has low dietary diversity and poor or very poor food consumption as shown below:

Food consumption classification for all households

Low dietary diversity Better dietary diversity
Households (%) Very poor food consumption Poor food consumption Slightly better food consumption Better food consumption
Rural 10 27 15 47
Total 9 29 13 49
Source: NRVA 2005


In 2005, 16% of the population of Farah province received allocations of food aid. In addition, of the 37% of households who reported taking out loans, two fifths (40%) said that the main use of their largest loan was to buy food. A further 8% used the money to cover expenses for health emergencies. In the same year more than a quarter (29%) of the households in the province reported feeling that their economic situation had got worse compared to a year ago, and a further 44% felt that it had remained the same, as the following table shows:

Comparison of overall economic situation compared to one year ago

Much worse Worse Same Slightly better Much better
Households (%) 9 20 44 26 1
Source: NRVA 2005


In 2005, around half (49%) of all households in the province report having been negatively affected by some unexpected event in the last year, which was beyond their control. People were most vulnerable to shocks related to agriculture and natural disasters, as the following table shows:

Households experiencing shocks in the province (%)
Types of shocks Rural Urban
Drinking water 6
Agricultural 34
Natural disaster 35
Insecurity 2
Financial 17
Health or epidemics 0
Source: NRVA 2005


Of those households affected, about three in five (59%) reported that they had not recovered at all from shocks experienced in the last 12 months and nearly two in five (37%) said they had recovered only partially.



For more detail information please take a look at "A Socio-Economic and Demographic Profile, Household Listing -2003 (Central Statistics Organization)"




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