KHOST CITY (Pajhwok): Some entrepreneurs in southeastern Khost province on Tuesday said around 30,000 metric tons of pine nut worth hundreds of millions of dollars will be exported to China this year.
The businesspersons said the pine nut yield increased and price doubled this year, compared to last year’s harvest and rate.
He said the main reason behind the price increase in Khost was inauguration of air corridor between Afghanistan and China.
They said President Ashraf Ghani’s ban on pine nut smuggling had positive impact on the crop price in the province.
Pine nuts in the eastern part of Khost City, the provincial capital, are sent to China after processing.
Gul Mohammad, a pine nuts grower, told Pajhwok that 50 kilograms of pine nuts were sold for 125,000 afghanis.
He said the price doubled this year but due to natural disasters, the pine nut produce was less.
He said pine nuts produce was not good in Paktia and Paktika provinces this year. He said those collected ten sacks of pine nuts in the past collected two sacks this year in Khost.
Shahzadah, the pine nuts businessmen association head, told Pajhwok that possibly 30,000 metric tons of pine nuts worth hundreds millions of dollars would be exported to China this year through air corridors from Khost, Paktia and Paktika provinces.
He said 14,000 tons of pine nuts had been exported to China last year.
Zia Noor Khalidzai, a pine nuts farmer, said in the past 50 kilograms of pine nuts was sold for 30,000 Pakistani rupees but now the same quantity was accounted for 270,000 Pakistani rupees.
According to figures, 44,000 tons of pine nuts are collected annually from across the country, with the bulk 30,000 tons are harvested in Paktia jungles.
According to reports, a large amount of pine nut produced in Paktia is smuggled to Pakistan through Angoor Ada and Wana routes.
Earlier, officials said 10,000 people in areas home to pine nut trees had received tools for professional collection of the dried fruit in Khost province.
Local had officials said the tools were distributed under the National Horticulture and Livestock Project (NHLP) program of the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock (MAIL).
Khost agriculture officials say the distribution of the tools would help increase pine nuts production by 40 percent in the province.