Herat farmers struggle with lack of proper cold storage facilities

HERAT, Afghanistan — Farmers in the western province of Herat are facing significant challenges due to the lack of proper cold storage facilities for their crops, leading to rapid spoilage shortly after harvest.

These farmers report that recent rains have resulted in a bumper crop of watermelons. However, without adequate cold storage or export opportunities, much of the produce is going to waste.

 “Compared to last year, we have a much larger yield. Last year, we planted the same amount, but our well ran dry, and our crops were ruined,” Ghulam Rasool, a farmer, said.

 “This year’s crops have been good, and we are grateful. But we have a problem: our fruit cannot be exported. It stays here and spoils,” Mohammad Arif, a trader, echoed these concerns.

The farmers are urging fruit traders to facilitate the export of watermelons.

Bashir Ahmad Bahadri, head of the Herat Fruit Sellers Union, said, “We had a meeting with banquet halls, restaurants, and hotels to encourage them to use local produce, which is both high quality and affordable. They responded positively.”

 “We ask the government to help us export our fruit. We have a type of melon called ‘Roc’ that is ideal for export,” Hekmatullah, another farmer, added.

With its favorable climate, Herat is well-suited for growing fruits and vegetables, including grapes, watermelons, and melons. However, the lack of infrastructure and export opportunities continues to hinder the potential of the region’s agricultural sector.