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Afghan pine-nuts sold in Pakistan ‘as cheap as dirt’

Afghan pine-nuts sold in Pakistan ‘as cheap as dirt’

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Mar 13, 2018 - 20:26

KABULinfo-icon (Pajhwok): Exporters on Tuesday expressed concern at continued sale of Afghanistan’s pine nuts as a Pakistani product in foreign countries, urging the government stop the phenomenon.

The exporters, speaking at a seminar “Exploring Challenges in the Way of Afghanistaninfo-icon’s Pine Nuts Export,” said Afghan pine nuts continued to be exported to Pakistan and sold ‘as cheap as dirt.’

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was also signed between exporters of pine nuts and Azizi Bank on the occasion.

Yahya Khan Zadran, member of the Pine Nut Exporters Union (PNEU), said 33,000 tons of pine nuts were produced in the country annually and out of which 1,000 tons were exported under the Afghanistan label and the remaining under the Pakistani label.

He asked the government to open a dried fruit market, especially pine nuts, or export the nuts directly to foreign countries.

“When we export pine nuts to Pakistaninfo-icon, we have to sell them at a price offered by Pakistani traders. But if we have our own market, we can pocket more profit,” he said.

Omaid Salem, head of the Azizi Bank, said the bank was ready to facilitate exporters inside and outside the country by creating cash sponsorship and providing them loans.  He added the loan system of the bank was based on global standards.

Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Industries (ACCI) deputy chief Khan Jan Alokozai said nearly 90 percent of pine nuts were smuggled to Pakistan. “If the traders export the dried fruit, they will earn more.”

“Some powerful government officials are involved in the pine nut smuggling. The authorities should deal with such people under the law. Only 10 percent of the produce is exported legally,” he stressed.

According to Alokozai, more than 10,000 tons of pine nuts were taken to Pakistan, China and other countries every year in an unregulated manner. “If the fruits are exported properly, there would be more benefits for the government and traders”, he concluded.

Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Abdullah, who was present on the occasion, said Afghanistan had a huge potential in agricultureinfo-icon sector but little attention had been paid to the pine nut export.

He added due to the conflict, Afghanistan’s domestic exports, forest and specially pine nuts forests had been badly affected.

The CEO added the agriculture ministry should strive to stop deforestation and asked common people to support the government in this regard.

He promised to invite pine nut traders to a Council of Ministers meeting where they would speak about their problems.

nh/ma

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