The Asian Development Bank (ADB), an investor in the agricultural sector in Afghanistan, intends to help establish new factories to process peanuts, raisins and other agricultural products in the country, say officials in the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation, and Livestock (MAIL).
In an event held on Monday in Kabul attended by government officials and investors, a contract was signed between government representatives and Afghan investors to build two processing factories under the “Horticulture Value Chain Development Sector Project” program of the agricultural ministry, which is sponsored by the ADB.
These factories will be used to process agricultural peanuts and raisins in Khost and Kabul provinces, respectively.
The total budget for the peanut processing plant is $3 million and the total for the raisin processing plant in Khost is $320,000.
The Asian Development Bank has allocated $1 million for the peanut-processing plant and $180K for the raisin-processing plant. The rest of the required amount will come from the government budget and other investors.
Agricultural Minister Anwar Ul Haq Ahadi, who participated in the event, said: “Once upon a time in the past, Afghanistan was one of the top raisins exporters in the region; it was exporting about 40 thousand metric tons of raisins to the Soviet Union.”
Ahadi, who emphasized the vital role of the private sector in increasing the country’s national production and export, said a joint investment of the private sector and the government is imperative for expanding investments in the agriculture sector in Afghanistan.
Some Afghan investors who participated in the event said the government should support them to attract bigger investments in the agriculture sector.
“As this project is being implemented in this province, first, it affects the worth and price of peanuts and second, it creates jobs for hundreds of residents during the peanut season,” An investor in Khost province, Shahzada Zadran, said.
Sardar Aqa, a Kabul resident, said: “The hope that we had in our hearts in the last 35 years, now it is coming true.”