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Raisin yield doubles but growers resent lack of facilities

Agriculture
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grapes-production-1Raisin yield has doubled in western Herat province, where farmers are concerned over lack of market for their produce, officials and growers said on Monday.

The raisin production in Herat reached 20,000 tonnes in 2015, compared with 80,000-10,000 tonnes last year, Deputy Director of Agriculture, Irrigation and LivestockBashir Ahmad Ahmaditold Pajhwok Afghan News.

The increased production was linked to higher grapes yield, establishment of processing units and awareness among farmers, he said, adding the grapes were mostly produced in Guzra, Injil, Pashtun Zarghoon and Oba districts.

Orchard Owners and Producers’ Union head for Guzra district, Qayamuddin Habibi was happy over the higher yield, saying growers had been trained on cultivating and processing techniques.

During the current year, 33 raisin-processing facilities had been established with the help of the National Horticulture and Livestock Programme (NHLP) in the district, he said.

“We don’t have a good market for our raisin produce in the province, so the government should pay more attention to addressing the issue,” said an orchard owner from Guzra district, Ghulam Sarwar.

Another grower from the same district, Aziz Ahmad, also voiced concern at lack of a good domestic market for raisin and facilities for exporting the dried fruit.

More than 70 varieties of grapes have been produced in the province, while 120 tonnes were produced this year -- a more than 20 percent increase in production.