KABUL: The problem of exporting apples to India through Wagah border has been resolved, with thousands of tonnes of the fruit ready for transportation, the Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Industries (ACCI) said on Saturday.
Five months ago, India banned apple importsfrom Afghanistan via the Wagah border of Pakistan. But the Indian embassy in Kabul has now informed ACCI through an email of lifting the ban.
ACCI’s export section head, Mir Zaman Popal, told Pajhwok Afghan News30,000 tonnes of the 40,000 tonnes of appleswere exported to India annually in the previous years. But his year, only 13,000 tonnes of apples have so far been exported to Pakistan, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Afghanistan’s annual apple yield is estimated at nearly 150,000 tonnes. Officials expect 20,000 tonnes of apples will be sent to India this year.
Ministry of Commerce and Industriesspokesman Musafir Quqandi confirmed the problem in exporting apples to India through the Wagah dry port had been resolved.
Deputy Chairman of ACCI, Khan Jan Alokozai, said India had decided to import Afghan products through Bandar Abbas port of Iran instead of the Wagahborder in Lahore.
The distance between India and Afghanistan through the Bandar Abbas Port is 4,000 kilometres, compared with 12,000 km through Wagah. Thus exports via Iran would be more profitable for the Afghans, he explained.
A farmer from Chak district of Maidan Wardak province said his orchard had produced 1.4 tonnes of apple. He purchased an additional 4.2 tonnes for sale. But the low price of the fruit in domestic marketscaused him a big loss.
“In 2015, the price of one kilogram of apple was 36 afghanis while this year it has fallen to 22 afs. I have suffered a loss of 30,000 afs,” he added.
He was happy over permission India’s decisionon apple imports though Wagah, hoping market for his produce would significantly improveafter the lifting of the ban.