Pol-e-Alam (PAN): The vital agriculture sector faces tremendous challenges mainly insecurity that followed by outdated agriculture system, which negatively impact the economy of Logar, officials said.
Engineer Humayon Umar, Logar agriculture department head said as many as 80% economy of Logar people depends on agriculture and livestock but they confront with enormous challenges as how to remove obstacles to bolster their crops.
He admitted that formers still face a host of problems despite introducing some sort of development in agriculture sector.
Humayun Umar said major developments have been made in agriculture sector in the past few years, adding that providing more facilities to the farmer community is among his top priority.
Half of Logar total area is irrigated and is being cultivated for years, he said, adding that Logar province is historically known as a warehouse of Kabul. He said that Mohammad Agah, Baraki Barak and Sarkh districts including the provincial capital Pol-e-Alam yield enough crops each year.
He promised the agriculture of the province is being converted to modern ways from the outdated system, which will bring positive changes in people’s income and usher an era of revolution in the province’s agro sector.
Formers cultivate around 15, 500 acres irrigated and 34, 300 non- irrigated lands, which help produce a bumper crop of thousands of tons.
“Every years thousands tones of wheat, corn, beans, barley and other kinds of vegetables are cultivated and being exported to Kabul, Paktia, and Khost provinces,” he added.
With the same breath he went on to say that Logar produces apple, grapes, pears, plum and almond. Its sprawling fruits orchards spread on 3, 227 hectare vast land.
He informed that experimental cultivation of saffron was successful in the province.
He said that the province has six government run and 50 private outlets have been established in Baraki Barak, Mohammad Agah districts including Pol-e-Alam where 10, 000 kilograms of dairy products are being produced.
The main problem the former community is the deficiency of a proper market for their crops, which leaves negative impact on the prices of their products, he remarked.
Lal Jan, a resident of pol-e-Alam said: “We cultivate vegetable on a large stretch of land after great efforts but vegetables are being imported from neighboring Pakistan, which leave us from getting profit.”
Importing vegetables from Pakistan badly impact the formers in Afghanistan, he said, demanding of the government to discourage import goods that are available locally and ensure provision of markets and stores for the formers.
Mohammad Qaseem, a former and resident of Mohammad Agha district said: “The Kabul market has n enough space to adjust our product with low price because vegetable and other products are being exported to Kabul from Logar, Wardak, Parwan and other eastern provinces”.
The retail price of vegetable is very low while its profit is five times higher than wheat and corn.
Another problem, which need immediate attention to be tackled is that the government should build dams to resolve the issue of water shortage, he added.
Mehrab-u- Din, cooperative head of Poark village told Pajhwok Afghan News that government has failed to bring the direly needed changes in agro sector and facilitate the former community.
The government, he said should explore measures to find markets for agriculture products and build storage facilities, which would help protect and immediately export agriculture product locally and internationally.
Dawood Melma, land owner and head of Pol-e-Alam regional council demand of the government to announce long terms basic facilities in the agriculture sector to remove the longstanding grievances of the formers community.
Trade and investment:
Despite its location on transit route, trade and investment activities could not be flourished in Logar as were previously expected.
Neither office of investment wing can be established nor do any entrepreneurs have their presence there.
Traders linked deteriorated investment to worsening security situation in the province.
Bismillah Logari, doing export and import business in vegetable said that the growers community could not work vigorously unless the government provides them with enhanced security and encourage them.
He further said that growing insecurity has left far-reaching negative impact on their business, urging the government to provide traders with foolproof. Though highways are protected, he admitted, saying however, they have to travel to rural areas and villages to bring their products to Kabul, where they need security.
Businessmen in Logar are divided and they have neither their union nor industrial park, he remarked. However, traders have been demanding construction of industrial park for years but the relevant quarters would yet consider their legitimate demands.
Dr. Abdul Wali Wakeel, Logar provincial council head, says that there are well-off people in the province but they do not deem relevant the prevailing situation suitable for investment there. “Once the situation improves in Logar, more investors will come forward for investment,” he added.
Absence of industrial part, power outages and poor security are main hurdles that discourage investment in Logar.
Logar has been left on backtrack in handcrafts despite the fact that the province produced textile products in the past. Presently, women handcrafts are being made here including necklaces and rings made of beads.
Jomah Khan 70 and a resident of Kalangar area of Pol-e-Alam district says that he has skill of making Kolali (a product made of clay) but now people has no more interest in old fashion, which brought down the demand of the product considerably.
“There was time when his product has great demand in the market. It was my only source of income but nowadays its demand is down,” he said adding that these days vessels and clay ovens have some demand.
Mohammad Shafiq Popal, head of Logar information and culture department said that handcrafts have now totally lost its market. The government, he said should take measures to encourage the skilled manpower to revive the old business of handicrafts.