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International Assistance, Cold Storage to Boost Sales of Afghan Pomegranates


Kandahar pomegranate farmers and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) have joined forces to launch a fruit export market. The aim of the program is to replace the illegal opium trade in the region by establishing alternative sustainable economic growth in the form of the famous traditional Afghan pomegranate crop.

USAID has helped open a new cold storage facility near Kandahar city, providing the farmers an extended selling season, and plans to ship boxes of the fruit stamped “Product of Afghanistan” to markets in Vancouver, London, and Singapore. The cold storage facility and quality control programs introduced by USAID have drastically increased the value and quality of the pomegranates, the main profits from which will go directly to the farmers. Pomegranate exports are expected to bring at least $1 million to the local economy this year. The fruit export market is hoped to expand to include other fruits in the next year, including grapes.

Afghanistan’s ruby-red pomegranates are widely considered to be the best in the world, and in addition to their sweet taste and are said to have numerous health benefits. They are already well-known for their quality in the region; the USAID program has helped ship hundreds of tons of pomegranates to Pakistan, India, and Dubai. Pomegranates have been grown in Afghanistan for centuries, but the trade has been disrupted in recent decades by violence and instability. As part of the program to reintroduce Afghan pomegranates to the world, USAID is working to increase contacts between the farmers and overseas buyers.


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