The Kabul times, Afghanistan Trustable News Agency.

Kandahar pomegranate melts on the ground

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By: The Kabul Times

Although products of Kandahar pomegranate gardens increased by 25pc this year but exports of this fruit to the world markets was fading due to Pakistan heavy tariffs. In reaction to imposing of heavy tariffs by Pakistan on Afghan agricultural products, particularly pomegranates, a number of horticultures said that due to not exports of this product to foreign markets, its price has decreased in domestic markets.
Ghulam Haidar Khan owner of an orchard in Dand district, Kandahar province who has planted 15000 pomegranate saplings said, in previous years Kandahar pomegranates were exported to Pakistan and through it to globle markets like India. Now due to hike of tariffs on this item, its exports have considerably reduced to world markets.
He added, due to increase of pomegranate harvest, domestic markets are not sufficient for its supply. Expressing concern for not supply of his pomegranate inside the country, he asked the government to establish a juice production factory in Kandahar.
He continued, as a result of recent rains, pomegranate gardens were damaged in a number of Kandahar districts.
Due to affecting with an unknown disease, pomegranates were damaged and their prices reduced in domestic markets and due to lack of professional agronomists, this disease was not diagnosed.
According to pomegranate dealers, good pomegranates are supplied in domestic markets Afs 60 per kilo while in past year it was supplied Afs 100 per kilo.
Director of Kandahar provincial directorate of agriculture Sayed Haffizullah Sayeedy said, this year pomegranate harvest increased to 15-25 pc. Last year pomegranate harvest was 80850 tonnes while this year it reached to 178125 tonnes but due to reduction of exports, it caused many problems to horticultures. We train hundreds horticultures every year.
Kandahar is famous for its delicious and high quality pomegranates and according to agricultural officials, over nine million pomegranate saplings have been planted in 9500 hectar lands and it has been estimated that each sapling produces 30 kg pomegranates.
Lack of foreign markets, high tariffs and sanctions on Wagah port are major problems ahead of Afghan fruits exporters. Although efforts were made for removal of these sanctions but didn’t produced positive results.
Following increasing tension with India over Kashmir issue, Pakistan closed Wagah port for transactions between Kabul-Delhi.
In-charge of public affairs of presidential office for banking and financial affairs Samir Rasa said that they are intending to find new markets in other countries for exports of pomegranates as a number of countries including UAE, China and EU countries have shown interests to purchase Afghan pomegranates. An air corridor has recently been opened between Kabul and Azerbaijan for exports of goods and agricultural products.
Rasa added that so far three tonnes pomegranate have been exported while last year eleven tonnes were exported via air corridor to India, UAE, Saudi Arabia and Turkey.

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The Kabul times, Afghanistan Trustable News Agency.