Greenhouse cultivation up by 50pc in Farah
FARAH CITY (Pajhwok): Area under greenhouse cultivation has increased by 50 percent in western Farah province, compared to last year’s, enabling farmers to boost their economy.
Provincial Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation director Eng. Abdul Manan Matin told Pajhwok Afghan News greenhouse farming had progressed in the province, yielding positive results.
The area under greenhouse cultivation last year was 1,650 acres of land, but now had increased to 2,500 acres, he said, adding crop yield collected from greenhouses had also increased this year compared to last year.
Each farmer using greenhouses would collect 30 tons of harvest from each acre of land last year, but the outcome increased to 33 tons this year, Matin explained. Around 4,500 people are directly engaged greenhouse farming, he said.
He said farmers, the private sector and the government had invested from $22 million to $25 million in greenhouse farming in Farah.
Based on an estimation, farmers in Farah would earn $15 million from greenhouse crops this year, Matin said.
Meanwhile, agriculture promotion manager, Shah Mohammad, said 90 percent of farmers grew cucumbers and 10 percent tomatoes in greenhouses in Farah. A fewer others grew pepper and back eggplant, he said.
“Earning more money with less investment has encouraged greenhouse farming in Farah,” he said.
Mohammad added greenhouse farming was now a tradition in the capital of Farah province and a number of districts. Ninety percent of greenhouse crops were exported to other provinces from Farah, he said.
Sheikh Ahmad, 53, a farmer in Bagh-i-Pul area of Farah City, said he sent 800,000 afghanis to establish a greenhouse on his one acre of land.
While collecting tomato crops from his greenhouse with the help of his two sons, Ahmad said: “We collect tomatoes after every second day. We collect more than 1,600 kilograms of tomatoes and cucumbers each day and send them to market.”
He sold a kilogram of tomato for 28 to 30 afghanis and the same amount of cucumbers for six to eight afghanis.
Ahmad was happy with his income and said he would possibly earn 2.5 million afghanis from his crops.
However, Ahmad, another farmer complained about non-availability of market and support of government for their production.
He said greenhouses were increasing by each passing day in Farah, but a proper market for the crops was not available and the agriculture department did not help them in this regard.
Ahmad Shah, a resident of Rigi area of Farah city, complained about a lack of cold storage for their crops and said: “The market is better this year after imports of cucumber and tomato were banned from Iran and Pakistan, but the amount of crops is very high that requires a proper market to be sold.”
“We have no cold storage in Farah so we cannot keep our crops fresh for a long time, therefore Iran and Pakistan in winter export their crops to Afghanistan and sell them on double prices,” he said.
Shah said crops collected from greenhouses had better quality and the government should pave the ground for their exports to foreign countries.
Meanwhile, agriculture director, Abdul Manan Matin said they had increased tax on tomato and cucumber imports from Iran and Pakistan and traders no longer imported the two items to Farah.
He said his department was trying to pave the ground for exports of greenhouse crops to Turkmenistan.
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