Security provided by the Afghan National Security Forces enables Herat to produce quality pistachio crop

Security provided by the Afghan National Security Forces enables Herat to produce quality pistachio crop - Central Asia News Afghanistan Kazakhstan Kyrgyzstan Uzbekistan Tajikistan Turkmenistan-Sports Business and Entertainment

Rose Taylor

2008-10-29

HERAT, Oct. 24 — Farmers in Herat have been able to harvest their pistachio crop successfully this year thanks to security provided by the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF).

For a number of years, the pistachio crop has been pilfered by thieves who steal nuts from the trees before they are ripe for harvest. The area under cultivation is too large for farmers to monitor constantly, but this year ANSF were deployed to the area to do just that. As many as 1,000 Afghan National Army (ANA) soldiers were sent to the Kushk-e Kohna district of Herat and the Pista Liq area of Badghis specifically to guard the pistachio trees.

Mohammad, a cultivator from Kushk-e Kohna, testified to the success of the scheme.

He reaped 300 kg of pistachios, earning 100,000 Afghanis [$1,960 USD] – the most he has made from one harvest.

One trader buying the local crop said that this year he was able to purchase top quality pistachios. "I bought 200 kg and will export them to Turkmenistan. This year I will earn more because the nuts are of better quality," he said.

The ANSF pistachio security scheme was so successful that 2008 has become the “Year of the Pistachio.” The harvest has given a boost to the local economy and to the incomes of local residents, according to the head of Herat's Department of Agriculture.

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