By: Shukria Kohistani
KABUL: Dried fruits are one of Afghanistan’s main export items that bring huge incomes to both people and government every year. Now the government is making effort to increase the export level of dried fruits abroad as it can produce hundreds of thousand tons of dried fruits, with about one thousand tons are being exported to different countries. Balkh, Herat, Kandahar and Kabul are key fruit-producing provinces of the country.
Recently, a number of traders started producing and supplying dried fruits with international standards. Afghan dried fruit – producing and packing factories were working traditionally, Afghan local officials said, adding that after several years, modern producing and packing dried fruit factories are operating.
In this way, dried fruits are processed and exported to the international markets. Establishment of standard fruit drying factories in Afghanistan today plays a significant role in the export of dried fruits.
Most workers in dried fruits production and packaging factories are women. They work in cleaning raisins, almonds, apricots and other fruits to support their families. It worth mentioning that raisins and almonds are the only fruits in Afghanistan with most exports to the world. Officials have just begun exporting dried apricots, with the first shipment to Kazakhstan by Sadafi Company in cooperation with the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock.
“The consignment is 50 metric tons of dried apricots and will cost $150,000,” according to company officials.
Jalaluddin Sayed, the Presidential advisor on domestic exports, said at the inauguration ceremony that: “It’s a matter of pride that the private sector exports fruits and vegetables to the region, we work as export facilitators and strive to increase exports not only to Kazakhstan, but also to Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Russia and other countries.”
The presidential advisor spoke about the value of the country’s vegetables and fruits and called the railway very important for the export of domestic products. “Afghanistan should not only export dried fruits to foreign countries but also potatoes, cucumbers and other agricultural products and fresh fruits, and greenhouses should be built to store these products so that we can have better exports,” said Qasem Nowrozi one of the traders.
Omid Haidari, another businessman said: “Afghanistan’s exports should be taken out of trade mafia and a single export center should be established so that our products can be exported safely.” Economic experts say that unfortunately, sometimes the country’s domestic items are exported to international markets in the name of neighboring countries. He asked the government for paying attention to labeling the country’s important items in the name of Afghanistan and not in the name of the neighboring countries.