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Helmand farmers in search of foreign markets for their products

in Afghan Business

Helmand farmers in search of foreign markets for their products

Cotton, saffron, raisin and almond are the common agricultural products in southern Helmand.

Director of agriculture in Helmand, Eng. Abdullah Ahmadzai, said his department is making efforts to look for foreign markets for the agricultural products of Helmand.

Mr. Ahmadzai said that a number of foreign organizations are interested in providing agricultural processing facilities and market access to the farmers in Helmand.

Helmand offers the best weather conditions for the growth of cotton and saffron.

In the past, cotton was one of the popular products of Helmand, where major cotton factories were operating.

Due to the decades of war, the province lost its competitive advantage in cotton.

The farmers urged the government to pay attention to the farming conditions of the province in order to help the province gain back its lost reputation in the production of certain crops.

Ali Ahmad Nasiri, Head of the Traders Union in Helmand, claimed that the government does not cooperate with them in establishing processing factories in the province.

“Our products are sent to the Pakistan for processing. Pakistan, then, exports the products under their name,” said Mr. Nasiri.

Traders are keen to build processing factories in the province; however, support from the government does not exist.

Haji Rahmatullah, one of the traders in Helmand, said traders are interested in establishing factories, but the government does not supply lands to the traders.

Meanwhile, some farmers complained that their sales have reduced compared to previous years.

“I spent a lot to bring my products- wheat, corn, and raisin- to the Lashkargah market. But, the sales are disappointing,” said Haji Abdulwali, a resident from the Nawa district of Helmand province.

Another resident, Abdul Khaliq, said he would continue growing opium, since the production of other crops does not meet his needs.

“Until the government does not eradicate corruption, people have sworn to not halt opium production,” said Abdul Khaliq.

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  1. Greg Kleponis
    Greg Kleponis 8 January, 2013, 06:55

    Interesting article. One would think that not only the Afghan Government but USAID and others would be interested in developing this region not only to develop the economy but also as an alternative crop strategy. USAID/FAIDA have already helped to develop other agricultural programs. Perhaps the Helmand leaders should approach them?

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