Raisins worth $8.5m exported from Kandahar
KANDAHAR CITY (Pajhwok): Despite unsatisfactory yield of grapes last solar year, Afghan traders in southern Kandahar province say they exported raisins worth $8.5 million.
Grapes after their harvest are dried into raisins in shaded, ventilated houses (Kishmish Khana) before being sold and exported as dried fruit.
Abdul Baqi Bena, the Kandahar Chamber of Commerce deputy head, told Pajhwok Afghan News various factors led to a low production of grapes in Kandahar last year.
He said first heavy rains and hailstorms hit the plants and then attacked by fungal infections, leading to a greater proportion of the grape harvest being dried for raisin production.
Despite these problems, he said, there had been a considerable increase in export of raisins due to a high demand of the dried fruit last year, when exports of raisins weighing more than 4.5 million kilograms earned Afghan traders more than $8.5 million.
He said traders had exported the same year fresh grapes weighing 435,000 kg worth nearly $5.2 million.
Bena said he talked about the exports of raisins which had been registered with them and there had been unregistered exports as well.
He said the increased exports of raisins despite low yield of grapes had been a result of good processing and packaging process, saying Afghan traders were streamlining their business activities with the passage of time.
Like previous years, he said, the raisins were first exported to India and then to Pakistan, from where the product was exported to other countries.
The trader representative said had Afghan traders access to cargo facilities, they would have earned more by exporting their products to other countries instead of neighbouring.
There are various types of raisins including green, the most preferred, red and black, each having a specific price.
Haji Nanai, a dried fruits dealer, told Pajhwok that the price of 4.5 kg of best quality raisins hovered between 400afs and 600afs this year, indicating a surge in the price compared to the previous year.
He said an increased yield of grapes was expected this year because the plants had been diseases-free so far.
Kandahar Agriculture Director Ahmad Shah Roshan said they had assisted farmers last year and would assist them this year as well.
He said there were signs of increased yields of grapes, pomegranates and other fresh fruits this year.
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