To growers’ dismay, pine nut prices tumble
KHOST CITY (PAN): Pine nuts prices dropped during the current year, inflicting losses on producers, who urged the government to find a profitable market for the dried fruit.
Hundreds of residents, including women and children, of Khost City are involved in processing pine nuts. They toil collecting pine cones from mountainous parts of Khost, Paktia and Paktika provinces.
Most producers sell pine nuts to Pakistani traders while some are sent to Kabul. They say that the price of one kilogram of pine nuts has dropped to 500 afghanis from last year’s rate of 700 afs.
Mohammad Naeem, who brought pine nuts to Khost City from the Zirok district of neighbouring Paktika, told Pajhwok Afghan News they had reaped a bumper crop of pine nuts last year, when the price was pretty price.
Unless the government explored a suitable market for pine nuts, farmers would continue to suffer plummeting prices, he remarked. The dried fruit rates had dropped in Pakistan as well, he explained.
The price of per 40kg of pine nuts fell from Rs 80,000 ($800) in 2012 to Rs 40,000 this year. The absence of a suitable market within the country forced producers to sell their produce cheaply in Pakistan, he added.
Haji Meer Gul, a resident of Zadran area, demanded establishment of a market in Khost, with international dealers given uninterrupted access. This will boost the yield of pine nuts and earn Afghanistan ample revenue.
Nawab Amirzai, the Khost Chamber of Commerce and Industries head, acknowledged Afghanistan’s high-quality fruits were sold at low prices due to the nonexistence of a suitable market.
If issued with export licences, producers of pine nuts would earn a lot, he believed, saying neither the chamber nor the government could help farmers in the current situation
Naseer Ahmad Roshan, an economist, agreed it was essential for the government to establish an international market in Khost, where farmers could sell their produce to foreign merchants.
Creation of such a market would help fuel trade activities and rehabilitation of forests in provinces, the expert concluded.
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