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Kandahar dry, fresh fruit exports up by 40pc

Kandahar dry, fresh fruit exports up by 40pc

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Mar 31, 2019 - 16:58

KANDAHAR CITY (Pajhwok): More than 120,000 tonnes of dry and fresh fruits worth $180 million have been exported to foreign countries from southern Kandahar province last year, registering a 40 percent increase over the previous year, an official said on Sunday.

Eng. Abdul Baqi Bena, deputy head of the Kandahar Chamber of Commerce and Industry, told Pajhwok Afghan News that in 1396 solar yearinfo-icon, 86,000 tonnes of dry and fresh fruits were exported from Kandahar compared to 1397 solar year’s 124,000 tonnes to foreign countries.

The dry fruit included raison, fig, pistachio, almond, and walnut and fresh fruits included pomegranate, grapes, herbals, saffron and others.

He said a total of 52 items had been exported, with the major part going India and Pakistaninfo-icon and some to Arab countries.

For its natural flavor and taste, there is worldwide demand for Afghanistaninfo-icon’s fresh and dry fruits, he said.

Bena said more land would be converted with orchards if the water and electricity shortages were resolved and the agricultureinfo-icon system modernized and made more professional.

However, he said some dry and fresh fruits from Kandahar export to foreign countries were exported as Indian and Pakistani products.

He hoped the opening of new routes would help the Afghan products reach many countries as local brand.

In this regard, the opening of the lapis lazuli route has given birth to new hopes and expectations. Via the new trans-national route, Afghan fruits and other items would reach many countries, he hoped.

He also termed the Chabahar Port as vital for export of local items but said international sanctions on Iran were affecting trade through Chahabar port.

He termed air corridors as important for export of fresh fruits but said due to shortage of cargo planes, sometimes traders incurred losses.

He urged the government to focus more on land routes rather than air corridors because the latter were expensive.

Gardeners and fresh and dried fruits traders said if the government paid attention to their problems and helped them find markets for their products, then the exports volume would be increased and the economic growth expedited.

Qutratullah, who owns a fig garden in Shah Walikot district, said gardeners suffered from too many problems including security threats during harvest of their produce.

He said the gardening system could be developed if the government provided facilities to their orchard owners.

He also urged the government to construct some cold storages in order to enable farmers to preserve their fruits for good market.

Traders say some facilities have been made available by the government but they still were struggling with issues concerning transit trade and finding international markets.

A dried fruit trader Haji Hayatullah told Pajhwok that the inauguration of air corridors with foreign countries was a comprehensive achievement, but lack of enough cargo flights delayed their exports.

nh/pk/ma

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