Bamiyan’s popular potato blossom festival ‘falls victims’ to Taliban policies

Bamiyan’s popular annual potato blossom festival, which boosted tourism, supported farmers, and promoted potatoes, has been conspicuously absent since the Taliban’s takeover in August 2021.

The “Gul-e-Kachaloo” festival was always a major attraction in the province, which also brought joy to the people.

Sadly, it’s one of many such events that have fallen away under the Taliban’s strict policies.

Bamiyan farmers, who are known to produce quality produce, meanwhile spoke out about all their challenges, including the cancellation of their festival, the high cost of fertilizers and the lack of cold storage facilities.

“People used to get happy when the festival was being held. We were expecting the Jashne Gul-e-Kachalo (potato blossom festival) to be held,” said Allahdad, a farmer in Bamiyan.

Bamiyan farmers cultivate various varieties of potatoes, including yellow-fleshed potatoes and red potatoes, among others. 

“We urge the [Taliban] government to hold the festival so that people get encouraged as the potato [products] have an effect on people’s life,” said Mohammad Zakir, a farmer.

Despite the region’s potential, this year’s potato harvest has suffered losses due to flash floods and locust infestations, according to the Taliban’s department of agriculture and livestock.

“Afghanistan’s agriculture minister must suggest the World Food Program (WFP) that supports Afghan farmers as they need assistance each year. Unfortunately, they need further assistance in the past two years because pests such as locusts attacked and inflicted losses to several provinces of Afghanistan,” said Mirwais Hajizada, deputy head of the chamber of agriculture and livestock.

In addition to its agricultural significance, Bamiyan is a popular tourist destination, attracting thousands of domestic and international visitors each year.

However, since the Taliban’s takeover, the province has witnessed a decline in cultural festivals that used to be held, such as the Dembora Festival, Silk Road Festival, and Gul-e-Kachaloo Festival (potato blossom festival).