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Fish farms needed to fulfill domestic demand
Pajhwok Afghan News


Despite huge water reserves and suitable climate for fish farming in the country, most of the fish and fish products are imported from the neighboring Pakistan, Iran and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Demand for fish meat goes up with the advent of winter and its imports register a sudden and manifold increase as the mercury drops in the central capital Kabul and other parts of the country.

Qais, a fish seller in Nadir Pashtun Wat of Kabul, told Pajhwok Afghan News his daily sale reached to 140 kilograms per day during winter. But all the commodity is imported from Pakistan.

A little quantity, he said, was received from the Sarobi Lake and Sayad River in the central Kapisa province. Fish obtained from the two places usually attract most customers and hence, its prices are ranging between 120 and 150 afghanis per kilogram. As for the product from Pakistan, its prices range between 80 to 100 afghanis per kilogram.

Samiullah, a fish importer, told this news agency they had imported from 40 to 100 sacks - seven kilogram each - fish from Pakistan on daily basis. The fish imported from the neighbouring country was also transported to Balkh, Kunduz and Ghazni provinces, he added.

Sher Aqa, another businessman, said fish farms were insufficient and the production could not fulfill the demand inside the country. Even in areas like Darunta and Sarobi, fish imported from Pakistan is being sold. Aqa says he used to import up to 200 sacks of fish from Pakistan on daily basis.

Besides import of fresh fish from Pakistan, packed fish meat is also brought into the country from Iran and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Fish importers, in the meantime, complained police were teasing them and squeezing money from them while bringing the product from Pakistan. Aqa said they had to pay eight to 10,000 afghanis per truck to police officials on way to Kabul.

Asked for comments about the complaints of fish importers, Interior Ministry spokesman Zmary Bashari said the ministry had kept a check on the highway officials and the problem had now been curbed.

Bashari said if the problem still persisted, then the importers would have no license or they might have used some illegal means for importing the product in the country.

Fish is being imported from Pakistan despite the fact that Afghanistan has suitable climate and vast reserves of fresh water. Abdul Raziq, an official of the French office for promotion of fishery in Afghanistan, said the country had suitable climate for promotion of fisheries, especially in areas close to rivers Amo and Hari Rod, the southern province of Helmand and the central capital Kabul.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation had recently launched efforts to boost domestic fish production by promoting fish farms in the country. Two such farms had already been set up in Qargha Lake, situated east of Kabul, and the central Kapisa province. Such farms were existed in Parwan, Kabul, Nangarhar and other provinces but years of war and civil strife had destroyed all the infrastructure in those provinces.

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