Fresh fruit rotting at airport due to cargo flight delays

Tuesday, 01 August 2017 03:15 Written by  Heart of Asia Published in Economy Read 194 times

A number of exporters of fresh fruit sharply criticized government for not having resolved problems regarding the export of goods to India, and said fresh produce packaged at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul three days ago has still not been flown out of the country. 

 

According to them, due to the delays in flights and the lack of cold storage facilities their produce is starting to rot.

New air cargo routes between India and Afghanistan were warmly welcomed last month but officials from the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Exporters' Association said the lack of proper planning in exporting fruit and vegetables has subjected them to big losses.

“Fruit has been stored in the airport’s warehouses not in cold rooms. They told us that the plane will come in the afternoon, then the evening but its three days late. Yesterday we were told that today (30 July) the plane will come and now the traders are at the airport and their fruit is rotting and the warehouse smells bad,” Akhtar Mohammad, a fresh fruit and vegetable exporter said.

Speaking at the inaugural flight to India last month, President Ashraf Ghani ordered the relevant officials to address all problems - but solutions are still not in place. 

Meanwhile, Afghan Chamber of Commerce and Industries (ACCI) officials agree that numerous problems exist regarding the export of fresh produce. 

“Sending goods to India through air cargo routes faces challenges and has been slow. But now the process has resumed and we can export to India by air,” ACCI spokesman Seyam Pesarlai said.

The Ministry of Commerce and Industries (MoCI) however said a private airline company would soon start cargo flights to India to transport Afghan goods. 

“Fortunately it was discussed in the high economic council today and it has been decided that a plane with high capacity from Kam Air airline will transport the fresh produce,” MoCI spokesman Musafir Qoqandi said.

ACCI officials said it is hoped that at least one cargo flight will fly to India each week. However, since the inauguration of the route last month only two flights out of Kabul and Kandahar have taken goods to India.