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As prices dip, Wardak growers seek market for apple

As prices dip, Wardak growers seek market for apple

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Oct 09, 2018 - 14:23

MAIDAN SHAHR (Pajhwok): Orchard owners in central Maidan Wardak province want a profitable market for their apples they grow, complaining the fruit price has fallen by 40 percent.

They urged the government to establish cold storage and other facilities for the preservation of their products which, if not sold at less-than-optimal prices, go rotten and thus cause growers huge losses.

Abdul Rahim, an orchard owner from Nirkh district, told Pajhwok Afghan News seven per kilograms of apples accounted for 90 afghanis this season -- compared with 220 afghanis last year.

He said per seven kilograms of apple cost 30 afghanis and the growers earned only 50 afghanis from each package. “Our main demand from the government is to help us find a market and establish cold storage facilities.”

Farid Ahmad, another grower, said: “The quality of our apple is very high this year. But its price is equal to that of grass. We have worked hard to grow the fruit, but the government has failed to find any market for it.”

Apple traders also suffered losses. One of them, Fazal Rabi, purchased per seven kilograms of apple for 80 afghanis but sold it for 70 afghanis in the market. He grumbled the price had never been that low.

“Previously, a huge quantity of apples was exported to Pakistaninfo-icon, but the country banned it for unknown reason,” he explained.

Mursalin Pacha, head of fruit and vegetable merchants union, linked the low price to the ban on exports to Pakistan. “Currently, gapes, potato, onion and tomato are being exported to Pakistan but the apple export has been banned for unknown reason.”

About the absence of a gainful market and other facilities, the union leader said he had shared the issue with the minister of agricultureinfo-icon and livestock.

“The minister told me they have sent a formal letter to national procurement commission that the security forces should purchase local apple in compliance with a presidential order,” he explained.

Maidan Wardak’s apple yield stands at 250,000 tonnes, which can meet the need of security forces for four to five months.

“We have three demands. First, our apple should be transported to international markets; second, exports to Pakistan should be resumed; and third, Iranian apple imports be stopped,” he continued.

Agriculture Director Habibullah Habibi said he had shared the issue with the authorities concerned and the NPC would accelerate the process of buying apple for the security forces.

Pajhwok tried to contact the Ministry of Commerce and Industry but failed.

Mir Zaman Popal, an official of the export wing of the Afghanistaninfo-icon Chamber of Commerce and Industries, said Pakistan had banned apple imports for unknown reasons.

He said Afghanistan’s foreign ministry had sent several official letters to the Pakistan embassy in Kabulinfo-icon, but they were yet to be answered.

sa/mud

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