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    $1.3m loan disbursed to Nangarhar farmers

    JALALABAD (PAN): The Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock disbursed loans worth $1.3 million (59.28 afghanis) to growers and a factory in the eastern province of Nangarhar, officials said on Saturday.

    In a bid to promote agriculture in the province, the Javed Iqbal Thresher-Manufacturing Company was loaned an amount of $300,000, Deputy Minister Abdul Ghani Ghoryani told Pajhwok Afghan News.

    The factory would use the loan to manufacture 500 wheat threshers for farmers, he said, adding that the long-term debt would be repaid in installments.

    Ghoryani said 1,850 growers, registered with the Fruit Production Association, were given $500,000 in loans through the Nangarhar Agriculture Department.

    The association has 4,000 members in Nangarhar, Kunar and Laghman province. But the loans are meant for farmers from the Surkh Rod district, the deputy minister explained.

    As part of efforts at promoting farming, he said, the ministry's Agriculture Development Fund (ADF) had so far disbursed $16 million in loans to farmers across the country.

    The loans will be spent on purchasing fertilizers, plant nurseries, improved seeds and crop disease medicines in coordination with the Fruit Production Association and Agriculture Department, Director Mohammad Hussain Sapi said.

    The Javed Afghan Factory launched operations in Nangarhar nearly 14 years back, said the factory head, Tor Gul. Set up with $350,000, the factory has produced 2,500 wheat, 1,500 rice and 1,000 maize threshers, as well as 2,500 tractor trolleys.

    One major problem for the factory was the shortage of electricity in the province, he said, promising the production of threshers would increase in the summer to about 5,000.