MAZAR-I-SHARIF (Pajhwok): The melon yield has surged in northern Balkh province this year, but growers complain about the lack of market for their fruit.
Malik Qomandan, a farmer from the Chahar Bolak district of the province, says he is happy with his melon yield this year.
But he adds: “One vehicle of melons is worth 30,000 afghanis. However, we are offered only 5,000 afghanis for it in the market.”
The grower refers to the high cost of agricultural input, saying a bag of fertiliser costs 4,000 afs, a bundle of plastic 6,000 afs and an hour of plough 1,200 afs.
Niza Mohammad, another grower, is also satisfied with the yield of melon this year. However, he grumbles the fresh fruit is dirt-cheap in the market.
He said: “One Mazada truck-load of melons must fetch a farmer 40,000 afs, but it sells for only 10,000 afs.”
He urged the government to build cold storage facilities for growers and find a profitable market for their produce.
Anjamuddin, a melon merchant, told Pajhwok that he used to purchase 20 vehicles of the fruit. But he is currently unable to buy even five vehicles of melons.
Mohammad Hassan Azimi, an official of the agriculture department, said about 23,000 hectares of land in Balkh had been cultivated with melons, which each hectare producing 20,000 to 25,000 tonnes of melons.
He revealed this year about 25,000 hectares of land in the province had been cultivated with melons.