The Ministry of Agriculture says plans are underway to provide more facilities for farmers to export their fresh produce.
EU Funds Cold Storage Project In Balkh
The European Union is funding the construction of four cold storage facilities for pomegranate farmers in Khulm district in Balkh province.
Work on the project will be completed by the end of this year, officials said.
The project aims to provide facilities to farmers to keep their produce fresh while waiting to send it on to domestic and foreign markets.
An official from the European Union delegation to Afghanistan said they will continue their efforts to pave the ground for the export of fruit to Europe.
“We are working also to promote the export of produce for our farmers so they can reach more regional markets and we are also able to preserve the quality of this produce for the European market,” said Gonzalo Serrano de la Rosa, Team Leader: Economic and Regional Development at European Union office in Afghanistan.
The minister of agriculture, Nasir Ahmad Durani, meanwhile said the cold storage facilities will be of medium size when complete.
“These programs will help standardize our exports and we will try to implement some infrastructure projects besides the European Union’s programs,” he said.
One farmer from Kabul’s Chahar Asiab district Dost Mohammad said they hope the facilities will help them reduce wastage of their produce.
“These facilities will help us prevent losses of our fruit while being moved from the farms to markets. This will overcome our problems,” Mohammad said.
Late last year the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock (MAIL) said more than 2,800 cold storage units have been built across the country over the past three years.
The ministry has said it was hoping to build an additional 500 small, medium and large cold storage units this year.
The lack of standard cold storage facilities has been a huge challenge for farmers across Afghanistan.
Last year, farmers were plagued with problems at Hamid Karzai International Airport for instance as they had no facilities to store fruit despite a string of delays in cargo flights to India.