MAIDAN SHAHR (Pajhwok): Farmers in central Maidan Wardak province say they are left with no option but sell their tomato harvest at throw-away prices due to the closure of the Torkham gate.
The farmers say they cannot even cover the input cost and the government should find a suitable market for their agricultural produce and save them from incurring losses.
Yar Khan Mullakhel, a resident of Sayedabad district, told Pajhwok they spent money on growing tomato crop, but now they have to sell their produce at a low price due to the closure of the Torkham crossing.
Mullakhel asked the government to support farmers by purchasing their products at a reasonable price.
Without naming any, he said some neighboring countries used to close their borders every year when the crops of Afghan farmers ripen and as a result they suffer huge financial losses.
“When harvest time of our vegetables arrives, the neighboring countries close their borders and it causes losses to Afghans.”
The farmer continued Afghanistan was an agricultural country and farmers should be supported by the government. He said the government should build standard cold storages in all regions to preserve harvests for a long time.
He suggested the government should set up tomato paste producing factories in the country in order to create market for farmers and prevent the import of tomato paste from abroad.
Niazgul, a resident of Narkh district, said tomato and other vegetables yield was good this year, but there were no buyers.
He said tomato prices had fallen so much that farmers even could not cover their expenses due to the closure of Torkham crossing. He asked the government to extend a helping hand to farmers in this difficult situation.
Maidan Wardak agriculture department officials corroborated farmers’ account and said they had started efforts to build cold storages.
Ihsanullah Bombiwal, the agricultural head, said they have shared farmers’ problems with the Ministry of Finance through the provincial authorities and had received a promise about their solution.
He said they were trying to increase cold storage facilities for farmers so could preserve their products for a long time and sell them at right time.
Many vehicles loaded with vegetables and other perishable things remain stranded on this side of the Durand Line due to the closure of Torkham gate.