In Afghanistan walnuts and pine nuts are produced in larger volumes, as well as almonds and different raisin types which are currently in great demand. The majority of the product range is produced organically but it is not certified.
“The products grown by our farmers are mostly sold in the neighboring countries, which are India, Iran and Pakistan. Above all we need know-how in the area of processing and export,” says
. She emphasizes the lack of business expertise to produce and sell dried fruits and nuts in the export markets. In co-operation with the international development agency USAID training sessions are organized to assist interested parties in entering the export business. “We need to convince traders to take over responsibility for the quality of the goods and their contacts. In our country high-quality grapes are grown. We want to dry them on a large scale and sell them as raisins.”
Export volumes, says Najlla Habibyar, are still very low, mainly due to the country’s landlocked geographical location without access to the sea. Exports include fresh and dried fruits, spices and herbs for medical purposes. Agricultural products represent a share of 40% of total exports.
The growing areas for grapes are located north of the capital Kabul up to Mazar-i-Sharif. Almonds and walnuts are produced in the center of the country; the growing areas extend to Herat and the border to Iran. Pine nuts are grown in the south of Afghanistan and the region bordering Pakistan. Apricots are produced and dried in the north, but also in the Kandahar region. Access to some of these growing areas is very limited because they are located in the mountains or in combat zones.