Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Bumper watermelon yield creates thousands of jobs in eastern Afghanistan

Bumper production of watermelon in the Batikot district of eastern Nangarhar province has created thousands of work opportunities, leaving a positive impact on the security situation. Despite the fact that the government has no writ in most of the areas where the watermelon crop has been cultivated, the positive impact of the production surge is visible in many localities -- from Jalalabad to Ghanikhel district. The Jalalabad-Torkham highway passes through Batikot district, where farmers and vendors have established watermelon stalls on both sides of the road, attracting a large number of passengers and drivers to buy the glucose-rich fruit. To the part of the district, known as Farms area, stability has partially returned. In the past, drivers and passengers felt unsafe going through this area. But now people stop here for eating and buying watermelon. Mohammad Esa, a resident of Ghanikhel who has set up a roadside stall, told Pajhwok Afghan News with the arrival of watermelon season he earned 800-1,200 rupees on a daily basis. The 50-year-old said more than 500 watermelon sale points had been established on the busy Jalalabad-Torkham road from Batikot up to the Marco Bazaar of Ghanikhel. Anwar Gul, an inhabitant of Chardahi area of Batikot, called the stalls the best sources of revenue for them. He said the massive watermelon yield this season had created a lot of work opportunities for the people. According to the district chief, watermelon has been cultivated on 15,000 hectares of land this year. Rafiullah Rahimzai, agriculture director, said he had discussed growers’ problems with the ministry concerned, which had promised exploring more markets for next year’s crop. A survey has been launched to determine the level of watermelon cultivated in Nangarhar this year.
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