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USAID helps Afghans explore new trade routes
Pajhwok Afghan News

09.03.2007

An Antonov 12 cargo aircraft, similar to the ones used to transport troops during the Russian occupation of Afghanistan, landed in Jalalabad airport last week - this time with a totally different purpose.

The aircraft came to lift the first direct air freight shipment of fresh fruit to be delivered to the Emirate of Dubai, opening the door to a new trade route between eastern Afghanistan and the United Arab Emirates and marking the beginning of a regular weekly airfreight shipment to these important markets from Jalalabad.

For the last 20 years, the Jalalabad Airport had been closed to civilian passengers and commercial cargo aircraft. This long hiatus ended the day when Samsoor Ban Limited, a trading company based in Laghman province, sent its first load of apples, grapes, apricots and melons straight from the Jalalabad Airport to Dubai, USAID said.

In a statement mailed to Pajhwok Afghan News on Monday, USAID said the Alternative Livelihood Programme for the Eastern Region (ALP/E) worked closely with the civil and military authorities at the airport to meet their requirements for the new venture.

Samsoor Ban began exporting fresh fruit to Dubai through Kabul Airport in November 2006. At that time, USAID supported the company with market contacts and technical advice in grades and standards, packaging and the trade logistics.

Now 10 months later, Samsoor Ban is exploring other options that will result in lower transport costs, shorter times in transit and consequently better quality and longer shelf-life, the US agency added...

Supported by the USAID-funded (ALP/E), Samsoor Ban Ltd. is one of several progressive traders from Kunar, Laghman and Nangarhar provinces currently supplying institutional buyers in Dubai, India, Kuwait and Qatar.

Fresh fruit and vegetables from eastern Afghanistan are sold in regional and international markets under the brand name Pride of the Eastern Region, which is consistent with the sentiment that their re-appearance in the global marketplace brings about for Afghan traders.

USAIDs Alternative Development Program for the Eastern Region follows a Value Chain Approach, integrating men and women entrepreneurs in the production and marketing of high-value crops and linking them to the global-value chains.

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