JALALABAD (Pajhwok): Agriculture officials in eastern Nangarhar province on Sunday said that pine nut yield increased by 38 percent in the province this year.
Officials say one of the reasons of high production of the fruit was distribution of technical equipment to harvesters.
The aim of the assistance was to prevent poppy cultivation in the region and the program would be also extended to other areas of the province, according to the officials.
Traders in Farm Hadi area of Jalalabad, capital of Nangarhar province have hired workers for processing pine nuts.
Traders say that the price of the fruit has hiked due to improved business relations with China, which also increased their income.
Rahimullah, one of pine nut trader, said, “Our business has improved after the trade agreement with China, the prices of pine nut have also increased.”
Nangarhar Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock department distributed technical equipment to pine nut harvesters in areas where people in the past cultivated poppy.
Officials say that the program helped farmers focus on harvesting pine nut instead of growing poppy and that was the reason of high production of the fruit this year.
Inamullah Safi, director of Nangarhar Agriculture Department said, “We want to work on growing walnut trees in areas where people want to cultivate poppy, we also want to help pine nut growers.”
He said that the pine nut production was increased by 38 percent this year after they distributed technical tools to harvesters and improved security in the region.
Nangarhar governor’s spokesman, Attaullah Khogyani, told Pajhwok Afghan News that there was more than 11,000 hectares of natural pine nut jungles in eight districts of the province which produced hundreds tons of the fruit annually.
He said that pine nut was 455 tons compared to 626 tons this year.
The Ministry of Commerce and Industry says that 1,000 tons of pine nut was exported to China last solar year.
Afghanistan pine nut has a high demand in international markets and the ministry is now trying to open air corridors with other countries for exportation of the fruit, the source said.
According to the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock (MAIL), a kilogram of pine nut now cost up to 3,000 Afghanis in Afghanistan markets.
MAIL officials say that pine production was higher this year which would amount to total 25,000 tons on country level.
Paktia, Paktika, Khost, Nangarhar, Laghman, Kapisa and Kabul provinces have special pine nuts and are reputable in Chinese markets.
Based on a contract with China, Afghanistan will this year also export pine nut through air corridor and land transport via Hairatan Port.