KANDAHAR (Pajhwok): Farmers in southern Kandahar province, who until recently cultivated poppy crop on their lands, this year grew carrots, but complain the root vegetable’s sales and prices are low.
Lala, a farmer from Arghandab district, said he grew carrots on his two acres of land and labored for six months to raise them, but it barely broke even.
Lala told Pajhwok Afghan News farmers in Kandahar would grow poppy until its cultivation was banned two years ago. “This year, I grew carrots and the harvest did not even cover the expenses.”
He said: “The profit of poppy was much higher while a kilo of carrots is sold for only five or six afs in the market”.
He believed if factories for carrot juice and jam were established, the vegetable’s price would increase and it would benefit farmers.
Khan Mohammad, another farmer, said the yield of carrots was much better this year, but it price was low in the market, so the farmers expected no income.
Khan Mohammad said: “We take bags containing 12 or 13 kilograms of carrots to the vegetables market and sell them for 70 afs each, we do not make any money, we even do not get our expenses back”.
Many farmers turned to cultivation of carrots this year and the high yield brought their prices down while some people opted to selling carrot juice on the streets.
Abdul Manan, a carrot juice seller, said, he would sell pomegranate juice in the past, but now he sold carrot juice and made 300 afs to 500 afs daily.
Ha said: “I have bought a small juicer. I earn up to 400 afs daily to buy bread for my family.”
The Agriculture and Livestock department head said carrots were grown on about 500 acres of land in Kandahar province this year.
Maulavi Shams Rahman Musa told Pajhwok that traders could invest in establishing factories of juice, jam, tomato paste and other agricultural products’ to encourage farmers.
Musa said: “We cooperate with farmers, we give them advise, attract assistance for them, but to find market for their products, different factories should be established”.
Arghandab, Panjwai, Daman, Takhta Pul, Zheri and Dand are the districts of Kandahar where carrots are grown widely.
Health experts say in addition to being tasty, eating carrots is good for the skin beauty, eye sight and prevents some diseases as well.