This greenhouse was built with money provided by the Government of the United Kingdom
Amriddin Khalifaev is 33 years old, and lives in the village of Khojakushkori in the Jamoat Mehvar, Panj. Amriddin’s story is similar to the hundreds of thousands of other Tajik men who see themselves obliged to leave their country right after finishing secondary school, with no hopes of finding employment in the Tajik labour market.
Born and raised in Khojakushkori in a family who have always been farmers like most people in this remote border area, he has always helped out on his family’s farmland. When his grandfather was still alive, the family had a big greenhouse in their yard in which they grew lemons. The family was proud of their greenhouse, and they could harvest up to three tons of lemons a year. In 2005 unfortunately they had to tear down their greenhouse, as the wooden structure was breaking down and the lemon trees were no longer giving a good harvest. Since then the whole family but especially Amriddin’s father has been dreaming of building a new one but have not had the funds.
When Amriddin first arrived in the Russian Federation, he worked with fruit and vegetable distribution in Moscow. Eventually he ended up doing what most do, heavy work in the construction sector, carrying cement, bricks and metal. The remittances sent home were needed to support his family back home, and he did not see a way of being able to permanently come back to Tajikistan. He is now 33 years old, also supporting a wife and three children, and has kept on working seasonally in Russia since that first trip when he was 18.
'My father is so happy to see his dream come true’ - Amriddin Khalifaev
Hearing about the IOM in-kind grant programme from a friend, after consulting with his father he decided to apply for the materials needed to build the longed-for greenhouse. The family was thrilled to be successful in the tough competition for the grants. They decided that they would invest some of their own money to build an even bigger greenhouse and Amriddin did yet another season in Russia with the purpose of saving for the greenhouse. He came back from Russia explicitly to finish the construction of the greenhouse and realize his and his father’s dream.
After finishing it in early February this year and planting tomato and cucumber seeds, the greenhouse gave its first harvest on the 28th of April. Now, every other day Amriddin takes cucumbers to the district market to sell them there, and neighbours often come by to buy from their house. During this month he sold around 0.5 ton cucumbers for 2185 somonis or 245USD and soon he will start selling tomatoes as well. He expects to keep selling vegetables until September. After that lemon trees will be planted and grow in the greenhouse, just like in the good old days.
If the earnings from the greenhouse continue to be high enough, Amriddin plans to stay in his village, finally closer to his children and wife. According to Amriddin, the greenhouse does not only provide him with employment, but also two female members of his household. In addition, he is providing community members and people in the district center with fresh and affordable vegetable, making a contributing to the improvement of the nutritional status of people in his region.
Cucumbers and tomatoes are currently thriving in the greenhouse
IOM’s in-kind grants program is a part of the Tajik-Afghan Integration, Resilience and Reform Building Programme, generously supported by the Government of the United Kingdom.