In the province of Kandahar, in Afghanistan, entrepreneurs dedicated to fresh fruits foresee a greater harvest of grapes this year and exported almost 40,000 tons of fruits – worth millions of dollars.
Kandahar exports about 100-150 tons a day to Pakistan, according to Haji Nanai Agha, director of the Fruit Distributors Association (FFDA). Compared to 2017, there have been fewer natural disasters this year.
Many fresh fruits are exported to Pakistan, but traders hope to have a new export opportunity when they start trading in the port of Chabahar, in Iran.
Afghan fresh fruits would have a good market in Asia and Europe, but there are no facilities to transport them.
Therefore, Afghan merchants have to rely heavily on Pakistan, according to the director of the FFDA, which reveals that 20,000 tons of exported grapes are registered, while another 20,000 go abroad without registering. It has been calculated that the value of total exports is about 10 million dollars.
The neighboring country often puts huge obstacles on Afghan exporters and inflicts heavy losses on them, according to Agha, adding that diplomatic missions to Pakistan have guaranteed more facilities. In addition, they have committed to closing the main borders to travelers for a certain time so that trucks can cross the border without interruptions.
Haji Roohullah, a fresh fruit merchant, also complains about the attitude of Pakistani officials towards the exporters of fresh fruits from Afghanistan. According to him, the port of Chabahar is an excellent opportunity to transport their products and services across the border more easily.
The port of Chabahar is located in the Persian Gulf, in Iranian territory, 700 kilometers from the province of Nimruz, in the southwest of Afghanistan. The port is economical for Afghan businessmen, especially for fresh-fruit exporters. The transporting fruits by air does not come out profitable and that the cost of the products could multiply.
Meanwhile, the owners of the gardens urge the Government to explore markets for their products. This year’s grape production is better, but farmers may not benefit if their exports are confined to Pakistan and some other countries.
Engineer Abdul Baqi Beena, deputy director of the Afghan Chamber of Commerce and Industry, states that 97% of the grapes are exported to Pakistan and India. A small part is also sent to the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
He adds that they are in contact with the Iranian authorities to explore ways of exporting fresh fruits from Afghanistan through the port of Chabahar. Last year, Kandahar produced 68 million dollars of fresh and dried fruits.