New Delhi, Aug 9: Afghanistans HinduKush mountain region is ready with its abundant white mulberry harvest notwithstanding the rising political uncertainty and violence in the country even as the Taliban makes rapid inroads.
According to Fruitnet, a platform providing information and data on fresh produce, Afghanistan is known for its white mulberry. “The country’s climate, especially in mountainous areas with good soil moisture, provide a favourable production area for the famed berry,” it said, adding that early season growing conditions have delivered a busy year for the farmers, who are predicting an excellent yield of the fruit.
A chunk of the produce would be dried for exports. Demand for dried mulberry — considered a superfood has been growing across the region. A large portion has made its way to India too.
However, uncertainty has increased for the local exporters.
“Trade is still continuing with Afghanistan but with heightened political tension, it could be a matter of time,” Ajay Sahai, director general, Federation of Indian Export Organisation told India Narrative.
India is one of Afghanistan’s top export destinations. It has been importing dried raisin, walnut, almond, fig, pine nut, pistachios, dried apricot. Fresh fruits have also been coming in from the country besides asafoetida or hing and saffron.
“Several retailers in Delhi stock these items as the demand is high..in the winter months, the consumption of dried fruits and nuts is even higher,” said a shop-owner in central Delhi.
While there will be no overall shortage of these items as a large part also comes in from other countries besides Jammu and Kashmir, Indians may not be able to have access to the “Afghani nuts and dried fruits.”
As the fight between the Taliban and the Afghan authorities intensifies, the supply of these may be scrapped, the retailer added.
The two countries have been connected by air freight corridors — Kabul, Kandahar, Herat with New Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai. Since the commencement of an air freight corridor in 2017, over 500 flights have ferried more than 5,000 metric tons of cargo directly benefiting Afghan farmers and small traders, Carnegie India in a report said.
However, with the rise in political turmoil in the country, India is closely monitoring the situation.
“Trade will be impacted for sure,” Sahai added.