The Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock (MAIL) on Tuesday said work to install three out of four large cold storage units is underway in different provinces, a move that will help farmers to store their produce.
The ministry inaugurated one of the four cold storage facilities in Paghman district in Kabul last week. It has the capacity of holding 60 tons of fruit and vegetables, MAIL officials said.
The other cold storage units are in Parwan, Samangan and Balkh provinces.
“Similar cold storage facilities are under construction in Parwan, Samangan and Balkh provinces and will be completed soon. Each of the facilities has the capacity of storing 60 tons of fresh fruit,” MAIL spokesman Lotfullah Rashid said.
According to farmers, the new storage units will extend the shelf life of their produce.
“We store our fruit in our house and the fruit soon starts to rot. Then we sell it at a very low price. If we keep the fruit in cold storage facilities, then we can sell at a higher price,” said Nasir Ahmad, a farmer in Kabul.
“More cold storage facilities should be established for us. There is a need for such facilities in every village. The products should be sent to the market from the cold storage facilities, not from farmers’ houses,” said Safiullah, another farmer.
MAIL statistics show that more than 2,800 cold storage units have been built across the country over the past three years.
The ministry has said it will build an additional 500 small and large cold storage units this year.
The lack of standard cold storage facilities has been a big challenge for farmers across Afghanistan.
On Monday, a number of traders said tons of fresh fruit has gone to waste at the Hamid Karzai International Airport because of the delay in cargo flights to India.
The traders said 42 tons of fresh fruit was transported to the airport on Friday and was scheduled to have been flown out on Saturday.