Problems in fruit exports via Pakistan worry Kandahar traders
KANDAHAR CITY (Pajhwok): With the harvest season fast approaching, traders in southern Kandahar province have expressed concern over hurdles to fruit exports to neighbouring Pakistan.
Fresh fruit traders in Kandahar complain farmers and merchants suffer losses because of numerous problems in exporting their produce to India through Pakistan.
Frequent closures of the border by Pakistani forces, late issuance of visas, fleecing of Afghan traders and a number of other issues are hampering fruit exports from the southern province.
Fresh Fruits’ Traders Association head, Haji Nanai Agha, told Pajhwok Afghan News melons, watermelons, grapes and other fresh fruits are going to be harvested soon. However, he is worried about their exports.
Belated issuance of visas is the main problem, Agha notes, claiming fruit-laden trucks often rot. The merchants thus suffer huge losses that can be averted.
He alleged border closures by Pakistani forces result in big losses to the traders and gardeners. For example, Agha says, dozens of trucks full of grapes went rotten or stale.’
The fruit was sold at half prices last year ago when Pakistani forces closed the border for several days. Demands for bribes from Pakistani security personnel are another concern, according to him.
He urges the officials concerned to take practical steps before fruit exports begin.
Haji Aziz, a fresh fruit trader, holds the same view. The border is usually shut earlier in the evening by the Pakistanis, creating problem for traders.
Late money transfersby the Pakistanis to Afghan traders also have a negative impact on the business.Aziz wants the government to take up the issues with Pakistan.
Samim Khpalwak, the governor’s spokesman, says the traders raised their problems at a recent meeting that was also attended by the Pakistani consul-general.
Pakistan was urged to adhere to the bilateral transit trade agreement and other pacts to resolve the problems of Afghan exporters.
The consul-general has pledged resolving all problems of the Afghan exporters and share the issues related to Pakistanwith senior officials.
Khpalwak adds the Pakistani envoy has pledged swift issuanceof visas to Afghan traders,like patients. The visa validity period will be enhanced from six months to a year.
The consul-general has also promised keeping the border open for two more hours to let the Afghan traders transport their produce to Pakistan.
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