Afghan pomegranate trade flourishing

The pomegranate has always been an important harvest in Afghanistan, and production has revived over the last decade. In Kandahar, still a troubled province, farmers say pomegranates offer a viable alternate to opium poppies.

Now, officials and farmers in Kandahar are celebrating both bumper crops and rising exports of the province’s famously fine pomegranates.

Exports had increased by 35 percent compared to last year. Nearly 23,000 tonnes of pomegranates had been exported to Pakistan, Dubai, India and the US from Kandahar this year. Last year, exports to these countries amounted to 14,750 tonnes.

Most of the Afghan pomegranates are exported to foreign countries via land routes, with much smaller quantities exported via air. According to an article, this year 128 tonnes of pomegranate were exported to India, 22,630 tonnes to Pakistan, about ten tonnes to Dubai and about one and-a-half tonnes to the US. These exports brought in nearly four million US dollars.

Fruit makes up a significant part of Afghanistan’s exports. Khan Jan Alokozai, deputy chairman of the Afghan chamber of commerce, said that Afghanistan exported about 145,000 tonnes of fresh fruit in the first six months of this year, a figure he expected to rise to 180,000 tonnes by the end of March 2018.

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