Badghis province is located in western region of Afghanistan. Badghis is bordered with Turkmenistan to the north, Faryab to the east, Ghor to the southeast, and Herat to the south. Badghis covers an area of 20,068 square km. More than two-thirds of the province’s area (69%) is mountainous or semi mountainous terrain, while more than one-fifth of the area (22%) is made up of plain land and the remaining is semi-plain land (9%). The province is divided into 6 districts; Qala-i-Naw being the provincial capital, Muqur, Ab Kamari, Qadis, Jawand, Bala Murghab and 1,182 villages, with CSO’s 2017/18 estimated population of 512,582 people (among them 496,965 are rural). Ghormach district is included in CSO population estimation under Badghis province, but based on Independent Directorate of Local Governance (IDLG) it belongs to Faryab province. Part of Badghis province is covered under Pistachio forest. Based on the department of agriculture records, there was 90,000 hectares of pistachio forest before the war time, while drought and cutting the forest for fire wood purpose caused decrease Pistachio forest and left the province only with 28,000 hectares. Cashmere and wool are other products next to pistachio produced in Badghis. The majority of inhabitants raise sheep, cattle and goats. Badghis province was one of main grazing areas for pastoralists in the past during spring and summer time owing to its large grazing land. The rangeland has deteriorated either by overgrazing and/or drought which adversely impacted the rangeland regeneration and forced for changing the grazing land to rain-fed area. Now the province is left with only 10,000 hectares pasture land.
The zone’s landscape mostly comprises of grassland, intermingled agricultural land, wild plants and pistachio forests. Households have increased their engagement and reliance on crop production in the last few years showing a shift from previous livelihood strategy in which animal husbandry was dominant and complemented with limited crop production. Grains such as wheat, barley and maize are produced for household consumption whereas pulses and Cumin (zera) are cultivated as cash crops. While the majority of households in the zone rely on rainfall, there are some pockets of irrigated fields throughout the zone in which rice is produced as well.
Currently agriculture is the main income source for 59% of total households in Badghis province. Over half (52%) of rural households own or manage agriculture land or garden plots. Livestock also provides income for nearly half (45%) of rural households. About 7% of households in the province earn some income from trade and services. Another 5% of households earn income through non-farm related labor.
Households’ access to major markets is restricted by far distance, few roads and limited transportation options. After harvest, households take a portion of their wheat to be sold at local district markets, usually sold at a farm-gate to middlemen traders who then take the goods to local markets or larger regional markets outside the province. Cumin is usually bought by the same wheat traders who then export to one of the major trading centers within Afghanistan where it is then exported to India, Pakistan and Iran. Livestock are sold at district markets, then transported either to province market or directly to Hirat and from there exported to Pakistan and India. Livestock products are mostly sold locally at district or province level and to some extent exported to other province of the region.