Agricultural Products: Their Role and Significance in Boosting Exports
By Amanullah Hanifi
Afghanistan is one of the countries in the world possessing fertile land and a favorable climate for agricultural activities. Consequently, a significant portion of the population engages in agriculture and livestock to fulfill their essential needs. Agriculture serves as a crucial driver of economic growth in Afghanistan, contributing substantially to the country's annual gross domestic product. Since the establishment of the Islamic Emirate, the agricultural sector has witnessed the implementation of various initiatives aimed at mechanizing agriculture, providing essential infrastructure such as cold storage and greenhouses, establishing improved seed centers, implementing advanced irrigation systems, leasing agricultural land to citizens on short and long-term basis, enhancing domestic and international marketing of agricultural products, and facilitating cash lending. Agriculture holds a pivotal position within the economic sector, and Afghanistan endeavors to adopt modern agricultural practices to enhance productivity and significantly improve product quality. Notable agricultural products of Afghanistan, well-recognized in the region and the world, include pomegranates, apples, pine nuts, grapes, saffron, cotton, olives, grains, and cereals. Currently, Afghanistan exports approximately 110 types of agricultural products to countries such as China, Turkey, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, Iran, Pakistan, India, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, and numerous others within the region and beyond. Agricultural products constitute a substantial share of Afghanistan's export commodities, with these products accounting for over half of the export value, reaching nearly two billion dollars during the last solar year of 1401. Exporting agricultural products has not only strengthened trade relations between Afghanistan and its partner countries but also facilitated their expansion. To foster development, a country must focus on increasing domestic production and promoting international marketing of its products. Fortunately, since the re-establishment of the Islamic Emirate, Afghanistan has embarked on this path. During the solar year 1401, Afghanistan achieved an export level of almost two billion dollars, which represents a twofold increase compared to the previous solar year. Afghan farmers have significantly benefited from exporting agricultural products to regional and international markets. They now deliver their products promptly at favorable prices and receive positive reception abroad. Previously, Afghan farmers lacked the opportunity to present their products in international markets under the name of Afghanistan. Alhamdulillah, with the re-establishment of the Islamic Emirate, Afghan agricultural products are now recognized and appreciated in foreign markets under the banner of Afghanistan. Consequently, income has surged compared to the past. The increase in exports ensures a balanced trade for a country. Recognizing this significance, every nation endeavors to boost domestic production, secure a place in the international market, and reap substantial profits. The Islamic Emirate has prioritized the importance of exports and swiftly taken steps to significantly elevate the export level compared to previous years. With the re-establishment of the Islamic Emirate in Afghanistan, alongside other vital economic sectors, considerable attention has been given to the growth and modernization of the agricultural sector. Multiple facilities have been established, with a keen focus on augmenting agricultural production, enhancing product quality, and facilitating both domestic and international marketing. The Islamic Emirate strives for full mechanization of Afghanistan's agriculture, as this approach not only provides facilities for farmers but also stimulates increased production of agricultural products. Given that nearly 70 percent of Afghans reside in rural areas and rely on agriculture and livestock for their livelihoods, prioritizing the agricultural sector is essential for rapid economic growth. By undertaking fundamental initiatives in the agricultural sector, tens of thousands of employment opportunities can be generated annually, while an increase in agricultural products contributes to national income growth. This augmented revenue aids in financing the national budget, initiating infrastructure projects, stimulating economic growth, and alleviating economic challenges.