The export of Afghanistan’s pine nuts, which was paused over concerns about the spread of the novel coronavirus and the Chinese New Year, has resumed following the start of Turkish Airlines flights to China, officials said.
The first flight, after a 20-day pause, was made on Sunday, Feb. 9, and carried 20 tons of pine nuts to China through the air corridor, the CEO of the Chamber of Investment and Commerce, Sayed Zaman Hashimi, said.
“The Turkish Airlines flights that were stopped for the past week have been resumed and we send over 20 tons of pine nuts a day,” he added. “Our exports are quite good compared to 2018 in which we had 1,070 tons of exports--now in 2019 we exported 2,000 tons of pine nuts.”
But pine nut experts said that more storage facilities should be available.
“There is a lack of proper cold storage facilities in Afghanistan, therefore pine nuts products are damaged,” said Yaqub Khan Manzoor, a pine nuts exporter. “The investors will bear a millions of dollars loss if this problem is not addressed by March.”
According to the pine nut exporters union, the price has fallen by Afs200 ($3) for each kilogram in local markets and has dwindled to Afs2,500 ($32) per kg.
The Ministry of Industry and Commerce did not comment on investors' and exporters' concerns.