Viral disease hits jujube fruit in Farah this year
FARAH CITY (Pajhwok): Jujube yield decreased this year after the fruit orchards were hit by a viral disease in western Farah province, officials and farmers said on Sunday
Shah Mohammad, a senior official at the provincial agriculture, irrigation and livestock department, told Pajhwok Afghan News the jujube fruit in Farah was infested with worms, resulting in decreased yield and low quality of the fruit.
He said last year the fruit was cultivated on 1,036 hectares of land, with each hectare producing 1.5 tonnes of high quality jujube. Las year’s total yield stood at 1,554 tonnes.
This year, the red date was grown on 1,200 hectares of land and each hectare produced 1.2 tonnes and the total production was 1,440 tonnes, the official said.
The fruit faced such a major threat from pests once in several years, he said, adding the main reason behind the disaster remained unknown, but watering gardens too much could be a factor.
He said the Farah agriculture department lacked specialists and facilities and had been so far unable to prevent the viral disease.
Abdul Qader, a resident of Nawbahar village on the outskirts of Farah City, who owns a jujube orchard, said: “Jujube trees were infested by insects this year and the fruit was of poor quality as it was empty inside and lightweight.”
Compared to past years when Qader’s garden spread over one acre of land would produce 1,000 kilograms of jujube the harvest declined to 500kg this year and most the fruits were destroyed.
He said there were more than 300 orchards in Nawbahar village and most had infected with the viral disease.
He asked the government and welfare organizations to conduct a study and detect reasons of the disease and then take serious steps for its prevention.
Mirwali, a resident of Raj village of the provincial capital, said the disease had also infected jujube fruit trees in their area.
“Most of the people in our district cope with their whole year’s expenses through selling jujube fruit harvest, but the disease-hit fruit this year couldn’t be sold and people have to face economical problems.”
He said there were 500 jujube orchards in Raj village and their owners earned livelihood through selling them. The jujube fruit market has also been corrupted.
Murshid, a shopkeeper in Farah City, sold a kilo of jujube for 300 afs last year but sold the same quantity this year for 150 afs because of the fruit’s bad quality.
The jujube harvest season starts at end of Asad month of the solar year and continues until Sunbula ends. The jujube fruit grows very well in Farah and have a good yield.
Earlier people would traditionally plant jujube trees without considering their harvest but over the past few years, people have turned their attention towards establishing beneficial and economically viable jujube orchards.
The agriculture department has also been giving attention to establishment of special commercial jujube orchards – a trend that has encouraged people.
Currently hundreds of jujube orchards exist in different parts of the provincial capital and Shibkoh, Pusht Koh, Push Rod, Khak-i-Safaid, Jowin, Bakwa and Balabolok districts of the province.
Download “Pajhwok” mobile App, on your smartphone to read and access latest news, features, interviews, videos and photos about Afghanistan.