BOOSTING EXPORTS, ONE BOX AT A TIME
A worker loads boxes of Afghan melons in a cold-storage room to keep them fresh before they are exported. He is one of the several employees working at the USAID-funded pack house and cold-storage facility at Mir Bacha Kot, North of Kabul.
USAID, with partner Roots of Peace, operates the facility so farmers and traders have an area to properly sort and grade their produce and store the items at a cool temperature until they are loaded onto refrigerated containers for export.
The boxes of melons will be exported to India, and the cartons of plastic containers of grapes will head to Pakistan. India and Pakistan represent two of Afghanistan’s largest markets.
To boost esports to existing and new markets, USAID trains farmers, traders and the facility’s workers on sorting, grading, and packaging to increase quality and decrease damage during shipment. USAID also provides incentives to traders for the packaging and transport of their first shipment of produce.
Since its start in February, 2010, USAID’s Commercial Horticulture and Agriculture Marketing Program (CHAMP) facilitated the export of more than 7,000 metric tons of fresh fruit, dried fruit, and nuts with an estimated value of $6.5 million to leading international markets including Pakistan, India, Bahrain, Canada, the United Arab Emirates, Russia, and Saudi Arabia.