The Karims and the charity they are working with, Hemp Aid, are convinced that in hemp the country could find a solution not only to opium, but also to the terrible malnutrition that cripples Afghan lives. A longstanding problem has been made far worse by the economic collapse that followed the Taliban’s takeover last August.
One strain of the plant produces CBD oil, but another – hemp fibre – can be used to make protein-rich hemp flour. By weight it provides as much protein as beef or lamb, as well as many other nutrients, and the group hope to use it to enrich the wheat bread that is an Afghan staple.
In recent trials with a local bakery they found that mixed in with wheat flour at 7%, it doesn’t affect taste (higher levels of hemp were unpopular) but makes each piece of bread seven or eight times more nutritious.