KABUL: Afghanistan exported 1,300 tons of pine nuts last fiscal year, officials said, insisting the value of exports could reach above one billion US dollar if needed steps are taken.
The Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock (MAIL) organized a meeting titled ‘Investment for development of pine nuts’ in cooperation with the Office of the Administrative Affairs of the President.
Yahya Khan Zadran, head of Pine Nut Traders Association, said that 33,000 tons of pine nuts were produced in the country annually, but only a small fraction of the fruit was exported as Afghan product and the rest as Pakistani product to other countries.
He said lack of processing factories and coordination between exporters of pine nuts and relevant organs were main challenges to the fruit’s export. “If these problems are solved and the government supports the pine nuts exports, I will invest $5 million in this business in Paktia province”, Zadran added.
Nasir Ahmad Durrani, agriculture director, who was also present at the meeting, said pine nut exports would soar to the volume of more than one billion US dollars if needed measures were taken.
He said more than 1,300 tons of pine nuts were exported abroad this solar year. He said today’s meeting was organized for discussing investment opportunities, problems and solutions to pine nut business.
Talking to traders, Durrani said, “We need a strong will, cooperation and honesty for solution these problems we both (government and traders) should play their role as servants of this country.”
He added his ministry would pay more attention to providing nursery, cold storages, reservoirs and loans to traders and investors of pine nuts.
The government this year took some steps such as creating the air corridor between Afghanistan and China for boosting the pine nut business, he said.
AtiqulahNasrat, head of Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Industries, said that the quality of pine nuts of Afghanistan was highest and if the fruit’s business was paid enough attention, it would be one of the country’s main exports.
He said there was enough capacity for investment in processing and packaging of pine nuts inside the country. (Pajhwok)