Tropical Wholefoods are importing raisins this Spring again from the Shomali Plains just north of Kabul in Afghanistan. Adam Brett and Richard Friend have been working with US Non Governmental Organisation (NGO) Mercy Corps since 2006 on developing a good raisin supply out of Afghanistan into the UK. Part of the brief is to improve the farmer drying of raisins (through introduction of a mat based system). The washing and further grading and de-stalking of the raisins is another stage. Getting Fairtrade Certification for the grape farmers is another goal. It’s been a tricky one to manage because the insecurity in the region rules out any FLO inspectors going to Afghanistan. However, Adam has been working closely with the Fairtrade Foundation and Mercy Corps to try to develop a way in which FLO certification can be available to farmers groups in fragile and precarious states like Afghanistan and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Considerable progress has been made.
The raisins are delicious and sweet, and will be available as bulk and in Tropical Wholefoods retail packs of 200g x 6.