Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock (MAIL) said Sunday that because of its favorable weather conditions, Afghanistan is a fertile country which produces about 1.5 million tons of fresh fruit a year.
MAIL spokesman Akbar Rustami said from this amount, only 500,000 tons is being exported and the rest is sold on the domestic market.
Rustami said the ministry is trying to build standard cold storage facilities so as to extend the lifespan of the country’s fruit.
“In order to promote our country’s economy, prevent the fruit from rotting and to address people’s needs in winter, more cold rooms should be established and MAIL is seriously working to establish new cold rooms,” said Rustami.
Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Industries (ACCI) officials meanwhile said in the first nine months of this solar year, 218,000 tons of fresh fruits were exported to foreign countries, but a large amount of produce spoils every year due to the lack of standard cold rooms.
ACCI deputy head Khan Jan Alokozay said this year the volume of fresh fruit exports has increased by 40 percent against last year.
“Fortunately, in the first nine months of this year, 218,000 tons of fresh fruits have been exported which shows a 44 percent increase against last year and in general shows a 38 percent increase in exports,” said Alokozay.
According to ACCI officials, 90 percent of Afghanistan’s vegetables and fresh fruits are exported to Pakistan but because of repeated border closures a large amount of the fruit does not reach its destination.
Although in the last year the opening of air corridors with a number of countries increased the amount of fruit being exported, economic experts said this would still not benefit the larger market.
They said government must resolve land transit and trade problems with its neighbors.