The Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock (MAIL) has predicted that Afghan farmers will collect up to 24,000 tons of pine nuts this year, which will be 10 percent higher than last year.
Pine nuts, a prominent Afghan export, are shipped mostly to China and the UAE.
Back in February, an Afghan investor put up $5 million to make a facility for processing pine nuts locally.
Although most of the Afghan-grown nuts are shipped to Pakistan for processing, there are local firms developing the capacity to process and package the pine nuts to meet international standards.
There are also efforts to expand the crop: “We have planted hundreds of thousands of pine nut saplings and we predict that the pine nut products will increase this year,” MAIL spokesman Akbar Rustami said.
Figures from the Ministry of Agriculture show that almost 1,700 tons of pine nuts met international standards and were exported to China, the Gulf and Europe over the past few years, and the amount should increase this year.
The price of a single kilogram of pine nuts in local markets is up to Afs2,800 ($35).
“We have shared our problems and challenges with pine nut exports with the government, and it should address them as soon as possible. Pine nut forests should be expanded, and more attention should be paid to processing inside the country,” said Mohammad Yunus Mohmand, deputy head of Commerce and the Investment Chamber.