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Bad roads hit Kunduz farmers’ income

in Afghan Business

Bad roads hit Kunduz farmers’ income

Badly bombed-out roads have become a bane to local farmers in Gul Tepa, who gripe over loss of income due to difficulties in transporting fragile agri crops to nearby markets.

Gul Tepa, capital of the northern Kunduz, once a Taliban stronghold and also home to hundreds of farmers has been a hotspot — as Afghan forces, along with foreign troops, clashed frequently with militants.

The area is now free from militant threats but infrastructure had been badly ruined, especially the Kunduz-Gul Tepa Highway.

And, repairing works had been stalled and it is hurting farmers’ livelihoods and pushing up costs of doing business. 

According to farmers, better roads would slash travel time from two hours to just thirty minutes between Gul Tepa and Kunduz City. Even taxi fares could be reduced from 60 afs to 20 afs if the damaged roads are repaired, they say.

Haji Amir Jan, a resident of Larkhabi told Pajhwok Afghan News, that  

large amount of their crops are destroyed, leading to major income losses, when they transport them to Kunduz City.

He lamented: “We have no extra income without farming. When we transport melons and watermelons to the city they are damaged along the way and we don’t benefit.”

The government should improve living conditions of the people, especially of farmers, he said, urging officials to accelerate the reconstruction of infrastructure in the area.

Spiraling transportation costs, high fuel price plus poor returns from farm produces are certainly biting into farmers’ income.

Nader Shah, from Shenwari village on the outskirts of Gul Tepa said: “The road linking Kunduz City with Gul Tepa is in bad condition. When we travel, we have to change our vehicle tyres or our vehicles break down due to bumpy roads.”

Local residents face other serious problems, when ferrying patients to  hospitals, sometimes even leading to deaths due to delays in getting medical care, said area tribal elders, who several times complaint to the provincial governor, but in vain.

However, Governor Mohammad Anwar Jagdalek said they do not have any specific plans to repair the highway but would try to resolve the issue this year.

“We have urged the German Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) based in the province to assist. They promised to pave the road but no action has been taken so far,” he said.

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