Farah farmers export 1b afs watermelon
FARAH CITY (PAN): Farmers in western Farah province earned one billion afghanis in revenue from exporting 250,000 tonnes of watermelons to different parts of Afghanistan and neighbouring countries, an official said on Sunday
Watermelons produced in Farah are known for their quality and taste in the region, an agriculture department official said, adding the fruit was exported to other provinces besides Pakistan and Iran, with an average watermelon weighing up to 12 kilograms.
Mohammad Jafar Kazmi said previously farmers would complain about lack of access to market, a problem that had been resolved. Last year, when only 150,000 tonnes were exported, more than 17,000 hectares of land produced 544,000 tonnes of watermelons.
But this year, the official explained, 15,300 hectares of land produced 505,000 tonnes and 250,000 tonnes had so far been exported.
Farmers used chemical fertiliser last year for early maturity of watermelons, causing a decline in weight and loss of taste. However, this year growers let the fruit ripen naturally, he added.
One hectare produced 44 tonnes of watermelons, said a resident of Pusht-i-Koh district, Mohammad Nasir. He brought his produce to Herat and priced a kilo at 30 afs, saying his net income was pretty high.
A grower from the Regi area on the outskirts of Farah City, Hamidullah, said water in Farah River this year had been abundant, reducing irrigation costs and resulting in an increased yield.
“If the government assists farmers by constructing cold storage and markets, they will not grow poppy crops on their fields”, he argued, complaining their products were spoiled due to the absence of cold storage and proper market.
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