A second air cargo route, this time to Mumbai, was officially launched on Wednesday from Afghanistan to India following the success of the Afghanistan-New Delhi route.
At the launch ceremony in Kabul, the Deputy Chairman of the Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Industries (ACCI), Khan Jan Alokozay said Afghanistan’s fruit exports will increase further with the Kabul-Mumbai route.
“The government has taken 80 percent responsibility of exporting of fruits to outside the country,” Alokozai said.
He also thanked President Ashraf Ghani for the government’s efforts, and said: “India is not charging taxes to Afghan traders. We are also trying to send fruit to India’s Amritsar city.”
In the meantime, Second Vice President Mohammad Sarwar Danish also said that the air corridor is very important for the government, adding that “we are hoping that the neighboring countries even consider the economy in their political policy.”
“India also promised to hold exhibition for Afghan traders in Mumbai city and they also want to create business chambers,” Danish said. “We hope that our Ministry of Foreign Affairs develops this relations even further.”
On Sunday, the Head of the Public Relations Office of the Senior Advisor to the President in Banking and Finance, Sameer Rasa, said since the launch of the air cargo corridor between Afghanistan and New Delhi, in India, six months ago, fresh produce, dried fruit and medicinal plants to the value of $20 million USD has been exported to India.
According to Rasa it is expected that within two days, cargo flights will also be launched to Mumbai in India.
Rasa said that in the six months since the launch of the cargo route, 10,640 tons of fresh and dried fruit, medicinal plants and handcrafts have been exported to Indian markets.
In addition, the ACCI officials said that the establishment of air corridors between Afghanistan and India is key to boosting exports to India and also to the rest of the world.
“When we look back at our exports in the past six months the total volume of our exports in which the air corridor had a significant role, we have seen a dramatic increase and it totals - in the six months - to about $398 million USD,” said Atiqullah Nusrat, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the ACCI.
This comes amid ongoing talks between government and the private sector to open up other air cargo routes to foreign countries.
But some businessmen have said that government needs to focus on attracting investment for the packaging sector for agricultural products if it wants to increase its exports.