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Aug 29, 2018
Kandahar to export 20,000 tons of grapes this year
Aug 28, 2018 - 16:38
KANDAHAR CITY (Pajhwok): Chamber of Commerce and Industry officials in southern Kandahar province expect exports of above 20,000 tons of grapes to foreign countries this year from the province.
Despite drought and irrigation water scarcity, grape harvests increased in Kandahar this year compared to the past, local officials say.
They say standard packaging and proper transport of grapes in vehicles laced with fridges contributed to the increase in grapes exports from Kandahar this year.
Kandahar Chamber of Commerce and Industry director Haji Nasrullah Zaheer told Pajhwok Afghan News that grape gardens in Kandahar were not damaged by pests this year --- a reason behind the boom in grape harvests.
He said another reason behind the increased exports of grapes was the use of plastic packs and fridge vehicles for transportation of the fruit.
The new packaging and refrigerated vehicles helped Kandahar grapes reach Lahore, Islamabad and New Delhi markets without any damage, he added.
Zaheer said so far 12,000 tons of grapes had been exported from Kandahar and they were expecting the exports to reach 20,000 tons until the end of the season.
He added total grape intake in Kandahar was 50,000 tons last year when 20,000 tons of the fruit worth $5 million was exported abroad.
A cold storage in Shurandam area of Kandahar city could store 200 to 400 tons of grapes before being exported to Pakistan and India every day.
Officials of the cold storage say they package grapes in plastic packs and then keep them in the cold storage before exporting them to foreign markets.
Sayed Ahmad Agha, a manager of the cold storage, said that people now used new methods for exporting grapes abroad.
“In the past, grapes were transported in wooden packs and each of them cost 120 afghanis, now plastic packs are produced in the country and each costs 60 afghanis,” he said.
He said cold storages and refrigerated vehicles helped exporters dispatch the grapes intact to Pakistani and Indian markets.
Grapes in the past could not reach markets properly due to absence of cold storage system and standard packaging, he added.
Agha said currently a 15 kilograms of grapes were sold for 1,500 to 2,000 Pakistani rupees in Pakistan, benefitting traders enough there.
Kandahar gardeners are happy with the grapes production despite drought conditions this year.
A garden owner in Pashmoli area of Zheri district, told Pajwhok that thought the drought affected crops but grape gardens faced no pest attacks and the fruit harvests were better this year.
However, he asked the government to resolve shortage of water problem and build small and big dams for saving rainwater in Kandahar city and districts.
On the other hand, fresh fruits traders say they have so far faced no problem while exporting grapes or other fruits to Pakistan.
Haji Nanai Agha, head of the Fresh Fruits Traders Association in Kandahar, said that Chamber of Commerce and Industry officials met with Pakistani diplomats before exportation of fresh fruits to Pakistan and the problems were resolved.
He said that dozens of cargo trucks loaded with grapes and other fresh fruits arrived from Kandahar in Pakistan and India on a daily basis.
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