Farmers in Balkh report crop losses due to lack of fertilizers

Farmers and gardeners in Balkh province have reported a significant drop in agricultural yields due to cold weather and a lack of fertilizers.

Grape farmers, in particular, have complained that their crops have been spoiled due to insufficient protection against disease.

“Due to the cold weather, grape yields are lower compared to previous years. We ask the agriculture department to help us by providing chemical fertilizers and medicines,” said Afzal, a gardener.

Farmers claim that the agriculture department in Balkh, under the Taliban, has not distributed chemical fertilizers and medicines to prevent fruit spoilage.

“This year, due to the cold weather, our crops have been spoiled. We ask the agriculture department to cooperate with the farmers by providing chemical fertilizers and other necessary materials for cultivation,” said Khwaja Hikmatullah, another gardener.

Some farmers have called on local Taliban officials to facilitate access to regional markets to sell their products. They cited the lack of foreign markets for their fruits and the absence of standard cold storage facilities in Balkh province as major challenges.

Farmers argue that proper storage could significantly increase the value of their crops.

“If a cold storage facility is built in Balkh province, we can sell our products for three or four times higher than the current price. Because we can’t export it in time, nor can we use it ourselves,” said Tajuddin, a grape garden owner.

The districts of Chamtal, Dawlatabad, Sholgara, and Nahr-e-Shahi have the largest grape gardens in Balkh. However, due to the lack of suitable markets and cold storage facilities, gardeners are forced to sell their crops at lower prices.