Kobra Dastagirzada is a business woman with a drive for success. In 2012, she founded Farah Farhat Faizi (3F), fruit and vegetable processing company. While the agricultural sector has traditionally been a solid home for Afghan women’s economic activities, as business owners, not many have ventured into larger enterprises. But Dastagirzada did just that. 3F produces and distributes a variety of agricultural products for home use, like pickles, jams, chilies, and chutneys. The company also distributes fresh fruits and vegetables grown in Afghanistan. Her company has partnered with international donors, such as USAID, to improve the standardization of its processing, whom have recognized 3F for its solid achievements as a successful, women-owned business.
Initially, Dastagirzada worked as teacher in Kabul city. She had migrated to Pakistan during the Taliban’s regime and then after its collapse, she came back to Afghanistan and established an English language and computer learning institute for Afghan women. But in 2012, based on her love of food and cooking, she decided to go into food processing and founded her company, 3F. The company has evolved since its humble beginnings using manual packaging to an automated system. She now produces 10 types of jams and pickles from vegetables and fruits, which are sold in top stores such as Finest Supermarket. She has expanded her recipes to include the production of soup packaged from dry ingredients, offered for the first time in Afghanistan.
In 2015, to keep up with the fast growth of her company, Dastagirzada felt she needed make her day to day operations more efficient. She signed up for professional development training at the The Women's Center (TWC) through the American University of Afghanistan (AUAF). She says she couldn’t be happier with the results.
“I used the knowledge gained from the training to evaluate my company. Together with my team, we developed a business plan, a marketing strategy, and a risk management plan. We also established a computerized financial and accounting system for our business,” she explains.
She says applying these changes and upgrading the processes and systems in her company, has benefited 3F by increasing its sales and improving the satisfaction of its customer base. With her company running more efficiently, she wants improve her products’ quality even more and cover markets around the country.