In an interesting development indicating growing India-Afghanistan ties, Afghan traders have succeeded in signing $68 million worth of deals for high-value agricultural products: like pomegranates, saffron, apples, apricots, melons, grapes, nuts, and cherries, during their participation at a recent trade mission in New Delhi.
According to Kabul based TOLO News, The USAID Commercial Horticultural Agricultural Marketing Program (CHAMP), implemented by Roots of Peace, facilitated the trade event titled “Made in Afghanistan: Nature’s Best” on July 13 and 14.
Afghanistan’s Ambassador to India Dr. Shaida Mohammad Abdali, while addressing at the inauguration of the event on July 13, said that two countries have set a trade target of two billion USD by 2020. He said that level of trade between the two countries has increased to almost $ 900 million.
Abdali stated that his country was heading towards a better position as long as connectivity was concerned and that it was no longer a land locked country. He said that the opening of the Iranian Chabahar port by 2022 will further help trade grow.
He was quoted saying “We want borders to be opened up between India-Pakistan-Afghanistan and the rest of the region. We’re trading with India through Pakistan but it isn’t as smooth as desired. We hope Afghanistan’s connectivity is improved desirably for rest of the region”.
FICCI played important role in organising the trade event.
A total of 49 Afghan exporters exhibited and over 800 Indian buyers had the opportunity to learn about Afghanistan’s modern agricultural practices and products.
Last year, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani provided air cargo incentives that led to the first direct air shipments of Afghan produce to New Delhi and Mumbai.
Ajmal Ahmadi, Economic Advisor to Ghani had stated that the air corridor connection has so far resulted in 100 air cargo flights from Afghanistan to New Delhi and Mumbai.
“We are planning to add more Indian cities such as Chennai and Hyderabad because we consider India as our largest market for agricultural and craft products,” said Ahmadi.
On the occasion of the launch of the two day event, Afghanistan Ambassador posted a tweet:
The “Made in Afghanistan: Nature’s Best” event was a follow-up event to the USAID-supported “Passage to Prosperity” trade show that was held in September 2017 in New Delhi, when Afghan agricultural exporters made $30 million in sales.
The recent trade event also prepared ground for Afghan exporters for the forthcoming USAID-supported second-annual “Passage to Prosperity” Trade and Investment Show scheduled to be held in Mumbai in September this year.
Afghanistan’s Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock (MAIL) and the Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Industries (ACCI) also supported the trade event held in New Delhi.