Paktika farmers bear losses due to strained Afghan-Pak ties
SHARANA (Pajhwok): Some orchard owners in southeastern Paktika province complained about the lack of proper market for their fruits and said most of the time their products were lost.
They say the Angoor Ada border crossing with Pakistan has been closed over the past six months, preventing their fruits from being exported to Pakistan.
Ahmad Shah, who owns an orchard in Sharana, the provincial capital, told Pajhwok Afghan News his orchard had 3,000 grape trees that produced around seven tonnes of grapes.
“The grapes are about to spoil, I don’t know what to do, there is no proper market for its purchase,” he said.
He said there were no cold storage facilities in the province where he could preserve the fruits. The disappointed farmer said most residents of his village fulfilled their economic needs through income from orchards, but exports had turned out to be a huge issue.
He said some businessmen visited orchards and offered a very low rate for the grapes, which was not economical for growers.
Other farmers of the province expressed similar views and asked the government to explore ways for export of the country’s products.
Dad Mohammad, a local expert in economic affairs, said the strained relations between Afghanistan and Pakistan had a negative impact on the country agriculture sector and most of the exports had been restricted, inflicting losses on farmers.
He said earlier most of the grapes and apples produced in Loya Paktia region were exported to foreign countries through Pakistan, something that did not happen this time.
Suhbat Khan Kharotai, deputy director of agriculture, acknowledged the lack of market for farmers and agriculture products in the province. He said most of the products were spoiled as there were no storage facilities.
The official, however, said a few cold storages had been constructed in the capital, Sharana, and Khair Kot and Urgun districts, adding that farmers could store their fruits there for some time.
Kharotai said due to the closure of the Angoor Ada border crossing into Pakistan, most of the fruits could not be sent out of the country.
Earlier Pakistani officials constructed some military installations and a gate at the Angoor Ada border crossing and since then the crossing has been closed.
Pakistan officials, however, announced the installation had been handed over to Afghan officials, but according to reports only the gate was handed over to Afghan border security forces.
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