Afghan traders signed US$68 million worth of deals for high-value agricultural products, such as pomegranates, saffron, apples, apricots, melons, grapes, nuts, and cherries, as a result of their participation at a recent trade mission in New Delhi.
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 13-14. 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.
The event capitalized on the growing economic cooperation between Afghanistan and India. 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 President Ghani 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 Mr. Ahmadi.
“Our trade volume has increased tremendously in the last few years,” said Afghan Ambassador to India Shaida Mohammad Abdali. “The trade volume between India and Afghanistan has reached almost $1 billion. But the demand is much more so we are looking for $2 billion in trade by 2020,” Abdali said during the trade mission.
The “Made in Afghanistan: Nature’s Best” trade event is a follow-up to the USAID-supported “Passage to Prosperity” trade show that was held last September in New Delhi, where Afghan agricultural exporters made US$30 million in sales. It also prepared Afghan exporters for the upcoming USAID-supported second-annual “Passage to Prosperity” Trade and Investment Show which will take place in Mumbai from September 12-15.
The Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock (MAIL) and the Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Industries (ACCI) also supported the “Made in Afghanistan: Nature’s Best” event. Other USAID programs contributing to the event included the Regional Agricultural Development Projects East and North and Promoting Value Chains – West program, implemented by the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization.