Farmers in the eastern province of Nangarhar are harvesting a massive yield of strawberries, but they need more capacity to pack and rapidly transport the fruit--even to local markets. And they also face the same obstacles as all Afghan farmers in reaching international markets.
One kilogram of strawberries sells for 100 afs locally, and farmers say that at least local markets are now available.
“This is the 16th year that I have grown strawberries, there are markets for them now. The fields are also suitable here to grow berries. In the past, we weren’t getting much money from this, but now one pack (1kg) is sold for 100 afs,” said Abdul Rahman, a farmer in the Khogyani district of Nangarhar.
The farmers say this year they have noted a significant yield increase.
The farmers called on the Afghan government to help the local farmers in the province reach other markets so the produce isn't wasted.
“Strawberries are very sensitive in their nature. We can develop production and exports if there are good markets for it in world markets,” said Noor Rahman, a farmer in Nangarhar.
The government's agriculture department has confirmed that farmers are dealing with problems in terms of packing and timely delivery of the products--even in the local market.
Previously, Afghanistan’s local markets were dominated by strawberries coming from Iran and Pakistan; however, in recent years, Afghan farmers have taken an interest in growing the berries and thus are trying to sell their products at a greater scale and to broader markets.