Afghanistan will soon open three air corridors with China to export goods to China, particularly pine nuts, office of the senior advisor to President Ashraf Ghani in Banking and Finance said Friday.
According to the advisor’s office, three air corridors will be opened between Afghanistan and China’s Shanghai, Beijing and Guangzhou cities.
The new developments expressed as a large amount of Afghanistan’s pine nuts is exported to Pakistan from where it is sent to other countries, mainly China, under the name of Pakistan.
Sameer Rasa, head of Public Relations Office of the Senior Advisor to President Ghani in Banking and Finance, said Afghanistan and China signed an agreement on exporting Afghan pine nuts to China a year ago, but so far, the ground has not been paved for implementing the agreement.
Rasa said that government is ready to open the air corridors with China which will help Afghan investors to export pine nuts directly to China.
He said they are about to sign an agreement with an airline company to transfer Afghan pine nuts to China cities.
“This (exporting pine nuts through air corridors) depends on preparedness of our investors. We have completed the contract and are about to sign it with an airline company. If our investors are ready, we will open air corridors with China cities in the near future to start pine nuts exports,” said Rasa.
Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Industries (ACCI) meanwhile said Afghan investors have almost 5,000 tons of pine nuts ready for exporting to China.
Atiqullah Nusrat, CEO of the ACCI, said only one Afghan factory has prepared 3,000 tons of pine nuts to export to China.
“Afghanistan is one of the biggest producers of pine nuts in the region. But when we look at pine nuts exports, a high amount of the pine nuts is not sent directly from Afghanistan, but is exported from neighboring countries, especially Pakistan,” he said. “Statistics show that more than 10,000 tons of our pine nuts are being exported from Pakistan to China every year.”
Officials said the Ministry of Economy has prepared an outline titled “Productive Afghanistan” which predicts that Afghanistan’s revenues from pine nuts will increase to $1 billion annually – if pine nuts smuggling to Pakistan stops.
Based on assessments of the Ministry of Economy, government will earn almost $2 billion annually from selling pine nuts, given that processing centers and modern packaging facilities are established in the country.
According to Ministry of Economy, Afghanistan’s total export value is around $800 million annually.
The Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock meanwhile said that at least 23,000 tons of pine nuts is produced in the country every year. However, investors said that almost 33,000 tons of pine nuts is produced in the country annually.
Afghanistan’s south-east provinces – Paktia, Paktika and Khost – are the biggest pine nuts producers in the country.