New fruits processing factory established in Kandahar
KANDAHAR CITY (Pajhwok): A businessman has invested $5 million establishing a standard plant to process and package fruits in southern Kandahar province, the first of its kind in the country.
Fruits like grapes, pomegranates and others are being packaged at the factoroy “Kinda Fruit Factory” in the Kandahar industrial park.
The fruits are then kept in cold rooms for ‘Free Cooling’, which helps protect the fruits from decaying.
The factory this year exported grapes to India and the UAE where the products were sold for double price.
The Kinda Fruity Factory’s owner, Saaduddin Saeed, told Pajhwok Afghan News during an interview that fresh fruits including grape, pomegranate, fig, apricot and others were widely produced in Kandahar province, but there were many issues in exporting of them.
He said one of the problems was a lack of standard facilities to pack fruits and as a result, the bulk of fruits were wasted and their quality decreased and couldn’t be sold for a reasonable price in foreign markets.
Saeed said the issue prompted him to take a decision on making a standard fruit processing and packaging plant in Kandahar, investing $5 million.
According to him, international standards were considered in establishing the factory to package, provide free cooling services for grapes, pomegranates, figs, apricots, apples and other fruits.
Another facility at the factory to improvise pomegranate seeds and juicing would be soon activated and launched this year. The factory’s new facility would enable it to export fresh peeled pomegranates seeds and processed juice besides packaged pomegranates.
Saeed said 200 tonnes of packaged grapes were exported to India and the UAE current year and were sold for double prices compared to the past.
The products from Kandahar were liked and praised in markets of the two countries, he said, adding no one believed the grapes came from Kandahar and had been packaged there in such a standard form.
He hoped exports from the factory would start to European countries and the US as well. He also cited some issues that created hurdles to progress of his work.
“The power shortage is a serious problem that slows our work and another problem is that we don’t avail cargo aircrafts facility for exporting fruits.”
“We also don’t have warehouses, cold rooms or scanners at the Kandahar airport which could help ease fruit exports and prevent damage to them,” he said, adding the issues had been shared with government officials but were yet to be solved.
Saeed said 500 labourers worked at his factory and if issues they faced were resolved, he would hire more employees.
Mohammad Naeem Haji Zada, who is responsible for the factory’s fruits packaging and processing, said grapes were moved to the factory from orchards in refrigerated vehicles. “As grapes arrive, workers clean them and put them in 500g plastic bags.”
He said after placing grapes in cartons, then they were transferred to special cold rooms for eight hours, which helped protect them from rotting. The free cooling technology has been brought to Afghanistan for the first time, Haji Zada added.
A fresh fruit trader from Kandahar, Jalaurrahman Sharar, said the Kinda Fruit Factory’s establishment was a major development.
In the past years due to lack of facilities, Kandahar fruits were exported in traditional manner that not only decreased their value but nearly 30 to 40 percent of the fruit also decayed, he added.
“Earlier we had to export and sell fruits at the earliest possible to prevent them from decaying, but now as the Kinda factory brought the advanced machinery to Kandahar, it enabled us to export fruits in a standard form and sell them for the price we want.”
He said the factory doubled Kandahar’s grapes value in foreign markets and the fruit’s demand had also increased. He requested other similar factories and asked the government to find market for Afghanistan’s products.
The government should provide the facility cargo aircrafts and find an alternative for the Pakistan route for transit and transporting because the country has been a hurdle to Afghanistan’s exports and products.
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