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                          India to give Afghans lessons in horticulture

For the first time, a delegation of 15 officials from the Afghan ministry of agriculture, irrigation and livestock have arrived to learn horticulture techniques from the experts at CITH.

From skill development to new farming techniques to exchanging technologies, the two-week programme is aimed at helping Afghanistan improve productivity and introduce new fruit and vegetable varieties to economically uplift farmers and the local government.

“India and Afghanistan have age-old relations and have helped each other on many fronts. A new era of mutual understanding with Afghanistan has begun and India is extending all possible assistance in re-building Afghanistan,” Sham Lal Sharma, J&K minister for horticulture, said.

Sponsored by the Netherlands government, the Afghan team will undergo two weeks training at CITH before visiting the Indian Horticulture Innovation and Training Centre at Jaipur.

“The climatic conditions in Kashmir and Afghanistan are similar. Like Kashmir, they also grow apple, almonds, grapes, etc. Since we have made some technological advancement we would like to share it with them so that they can also improve productivity,” CITH director Nazir Ahmad said.

Figures released by CITH reveal the apple production in Afghanistan is 7.48 tonnes per hectare, while the average in Kashmir is 12 tonnes. Similarly, pears production per hectare in Afghanistan is 10 tonnes, which is 15 tonnes in Kashmir. Peach production in Afghanistan is 13 tonnes per hectare and 15-20 tonnes in Kashmir. Afghan is ahead in almond production with 3.5 tonnes, which in Kashmir is only one tonne.


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