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Tagab pomegranate farmers exult over high yield, lucrative prices

Tagab pomegranate farmers exult over high yield, lucrative prices

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On
Dec 19, 2016 - 15:07

MAHMOOD RAQI (Pajhwok): The residents of the Tagab district of central Kapisa province are exultant over the bumper pomegranate yield, saying prices are higher compared to last year.

Tagab district, globally known for producing excellent quality of cultivars, exports most of its delicious and juicy pomegranates to Pakistaninfo-icon, from where the fruit is sent to other countries of the worldinfo-icon.

Khairullah, owner of a pomegranate garden from Shahikhelarea, told Pajhwok Afghan News dried and fresh fruit produced in Kapisa was dispatched to Kabulinfo-icon and Nangarhar provinces and Pakistani markets.

Local residents buy entire orchards and businessmen from Pakistan also visit the district for bulk purchases of pomegranates and other fruits.

Farm owner, meanwhile, are worried about strained relations between Pakistan and Afghanistaninfo-icon, fearing fresh fruits would go rotten lost at the Torkham dry port if strict border restrictions remain in place.

Khairullah added pomegranate production had seen a boost as prices doubled in 2016. Last year, 560 kilograms accounted for 40,000 afghanis. But this year, the same quantity was priced at 80,000 afghanis, he explained.

Khyber, a resident of Tatarkhel neighbourhood, agreed the price of best-quality pomegranates was up this year. He said orchard owners were content and had reaped huge profits.

Fazal Haq Sapi, a businessman, verified that this year the quality of pomegranate was wonderful and the price also pretty high. Local buyers are in contact with the market price in Pakistan and treated accordingly.

“We place pomegranates in two types of bags, weighing 1,120 and 840 kilograms, and hire workers to fill and load them on trucks. If the trucks have the required documents, they transport the fruit to Peshawar. If not, they carry it to Nangarhar.”

Some residents of Tagab lashed out at the department of agricultureinfo-icon for not taking steps for pomegranate storage.

Haji Latif blasted the agriculture department for failing to build facilities where pomegranates could be stored for a long time. If kept in an ordinary place, he argued, the fruit lost its quality. Cold storage would enable farmers to sell their produce at an appropriate time for reasonable prices.

Abdul Wahab Naseemi, agriculture director, acknowledged no solid steps had been taken by his predecessors to promote pomegranate production in the district. He was appointed recently to the position and did not have enough information.

He, however, regretted insecurity impeded the construction of cold storage facilities in Tagab district, though some fruit depots had been set up in the provincial capital for grape orchard owners.

nh/mud

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