Paktia farmers seek market for apple produce
GARDEZ (Pajhwok): Apple production has increased in southeastern Paktia province amid lack of market and cold storage facilities, farmers said on Sunday.
His apple yield increased by many folds comparing to previous years’ production, a resident of Mahlan area on the outskirts of Gardez, Khairullah, told Pajhwok Afghan News.
“Neither there is domestic or international market nor cold storage facility for our apples,” he said, adding his orchard yielded 5.6 tonnes of apple this year but traders purchased a kilo of apple for 21.5 afghanis only.
Cold storages have been established but only for a limited number of farmers in the province where other farmers have no access to such facilities, he said.
Their apple production has been on the increase annually but they have to sell them for cheaper price due to a lack of storage facility, another farmer from Baladi area on the outskirts of Gardez, Syed Wali, said.
The government should establish juice-making factories and should export the fruit to international market, he said.
Other orchard owners held similar views regarding the market and cold storages facilities for the crop.
In the past years, the annual production of apples in the province had been almost 8000 tonnes but this year the production jumped to 13,000 tonnes, the director of agriculture, irrigation and livestock, Zabihullah Hasanzai, said.
They could find market for apples and other agricultural products through conducting exhibitions to showcase domestic products in Badam Bagh locality of Kabul, he said.
He added there were 58 cold storages in different parts of the province and they were planning to establish more such facilities for orchard owners.
However, the provincial head of Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Industries (ACCI), Dr. Naseer Alamyar, said they were yet to find international market for apples.
“Apples can only be exported to Pakistan, but it is not profitable for traders because Pakistan increases customs duty by 20 percent during every harvesting season, he said.
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