Mid-June 2017 marks the inauguration of Afghanistan-India Air Corridor Program, a historic and unprecedented move, initiated by Afghan government.
Afghan exporters were provided with the opportunity to air freight their goods to Indian markets within hours at a subsidized rate of USD 0.10 Cent per kg, the remaining cost being paid by the Government of Afghanistan.
According to figures released from Export Promotion Department of Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI), the air corridor between Afghanistan and India has witnessed over 500 flights valued at more than USD 120 million, from Kabul and Kandahar to several destinations in India including New Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai.
The closure of Pakistani air space, after escalated tensions between India and Pakistan on February 2019, has inflicted millions of dollars losses to common Afghans as well as business community, causing massive decline in passenger and cargo flight operations.
As Afghanistan is entering its fresh fruits season the concerns mount about the country’s access to regional and international markets. A number of critics have criticized the government for not being able to lobby for an easy access to transit trade through neighboring countries.
During his recent interview with a local TV channel, Head of Fresh Fruit Exporters Association (FFEA) Mr. Akhtar Mohammad claimed that neighboring countries particularly Pakistan deliberately shuts down its commercial routs with Afghanistan during our fruit harvest season. “Each year the business community and farmers are being made to sustain heavy losses by unfair politics of neighbors. We have demanded the government for reciprocal action from against them but we are yet to be heard.” he added.
In some occasion in order to curb and hurdle the Afghan exports, Pakistan would raise its custom tariffs imposed on Afghan exports. Torkham and Chaman, the two main trade routs of Afghanistan with its second biggest trade partner (Pakistan) are often being closed by Pakistan without any rational reason or logical justification. These crossing points tend to remain close during the eve of religious occasions such as the twin Eids and Muharram (the Day of Ashura) which interrupts the Afghanistan’s transit trade with the world through Pakistan.
Many of traders engaged in business to or through Pakistan’s soil have repeatedly complained about harassment, illegal extortion, and improper ways of checking the Afghan export consignments by Pakistan military, overlooking all the bilateral and multilateral MoUs and agreements including Afghanistan – Pakistan Trade Transit Agreement (APTTA).
Exporters of Fresh Fruits urges the government to solve its problem with Pakistan prior to the export season as the lack of access to free routs would have negative impacts on overall economy of the country.
As per the reports, due to excess production of watermelon in some parts such as western Farah province have slumped its prices taking a heavy toll on profit of the local producers and farmers.
Source : Afghan Voice Agency(AVA)
Wednesday 19 June 2019 14:29