Afghanistan: Helmand farmers lack market and cold storage facilities

Farmers in Helmand are expected to produce 89,000 tons of grapes this year as the harvest season starts in the southern Afghan province. Last year, the farmers produced almost 81,000 tons of grapes, the provincial head of Agriculture Directorate, Zalmay Aloko said. He said the grapes are sent to Kabul, with a number going to neighboring countries.

“We have vineyards in Lashkargah, Kariz, Nah-e-Siraj, Washir, Garemsir and Nad Ali district. The grapes have a good market in the country and abroad,” Aloko said.

But the farmers said they are faced with lack of market and lack of cold storage facilities in Helmand. Vineyards have covered 6,410 acres of land in Helmand which produces 21 types of grapes. Afghanistan produced almost one billion tons of grapes last year, figures by National Statistics and Information Authority (NSIA) show.

The figures show that at least 200 million tons of grapes were exported to other countries, mostly India and Pakistan, which worth $63.5 million.


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