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Kabul, Tehran review cooperation, agree to draw up new strategy

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(Last Updated On: September 16, 2020)

Iran and Afghanistan have agreed to draw up a comprehensive strategic economic document on bilateral cooperation, the head of Iran’s Customs Administration (IRICA) said.

According to Mehdi Mirashrafi, IRICA chief, “facilitating trade, exchanging customs information, solving border problems and developing transit are on the agenda of Iran and Afghanistan.” 

Speaking to journalists after a video conference with Afghan officials, Mirashrafi said: “The two sides decided to prepare a comprehensive strategic economic document, considering the determinations of the two countries for strategic cooperation.”

Tehran Times reported that on the activation of the Iran-Afghanistan-Uzbekistan Tripartite Transit Corridor and the Kyrgyzstan-Tajikistan-Afghanistan-Iran (KTAI) Quadripartite Corridor, Mirashrafi said: “This trend shows the serious determination of the Iranian Customs to facilitate transit through Afghanistan and connect Central Asian countries to international waters through the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman.”

He also said Chabahar Port was one of the major issues discussed in the meeting.

“The port of Chabahar is an important and vital port for Afghanistan in the field of transit of goods through Iran, and accordingly, the Afghan side has demanded reducing visa fees and transit fees and reconsidering the penalties for customs violations in the transit route through Iran.”

The Chabahar seaport has been a vital development in Afghanistan’s efforts to increase connectivity with the region for trade purposes. 

The port is partly intended to provide an alternative for trade between India and Afghanistan as it is 800 kilometers closer to the border of Afghanistan than Pakistan’s Karachi port.

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Fish farming on the rise as 350 new farms launched around the country

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(Last Updated On: November 30, 2020)

Officials from the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock (MAIL) said that 350 fish farms have been set up in 34 provinces this year by the ministry and the private sector.

Khalil Forough, director of fish farming at the Ministry of Agriculture, says that this year the ministry has established a total of 100 fish farms, while another 250 fish farms have been set up by the private sector in different provinces.

The National Horticulture and Livestock Project of the Ministry of Agriculture has built 100 new fish farms, and two poultry farms in Kunar, Balkh, Baghlan, Laghman, Kandahar, Khost and Herat provinces, each with a production capacity of 2.7 to 3 metric tons of fish and each breeding farm has a hatchling capacity of 2.4 million baby fish.

“According to our study, this year the level of fish production has increased by 1,500 tons compared to last year,” said Forough.

According to ministry officials, last year fish production reached about 10,000 metric tons and this year it will reach 11,500 tons.

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Kabul residents face another winter with limited power

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(Last Updated On: November 29, 2020)

Officials of Da Afghanistan Breshna Sherkat (DABS), the country’s power distribution company, said on Sunday that Afghanistan will face a lack of electricity because the project to transfer 500 Megawatts of electricity from Uzbekistan has not yet been completed.

According to officials they have however resolved the lack of electricity in industrial parks.

“We demand 760 megawatts at this important time. We offered 450 megawatts of electricity last year, in the current year our offer increased to 480 megawatt,” said Salim Salimi, deputy head of the DABS.

However, officials acknowledged that no basic work has been done in the past 20 years regarding electricity.

On the other hand, officials of the Chamber of Mines and Industries say that they don’t have permanent electricity in the industrial parks.

“The industrial parks need 200 megawatts of electricity, they have provided only 10 feeders to the industrial park. Craftsmen can’t work without electricity in any corner of the world,” said Sakhi Ahmad Paiman, deputy head of the chamber.

“We don’t have regular power in the industrial park yet. If we had power for 12 hours, why we complain?” said Abdul Nasir Reshtia, head of the association of steel factories.

This comes ahead of winter – when Kabul residents struggle to cope due to freezing temperatures and limited power.

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New pine nut plant will boost Paktia economy and provide 1,000 jobs

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(Last Updated On: November 27, 2020)

For many Paktia residents struggling to earn a living, the new Rahim Gardezi pine nut processing plant will bring much relief.

According to provincial officials, 90 percent of construction work is complete and the plant will soon be officially opened.

Naser Alam Yar, Paktia Chamber of Commerce’s chief, says the factory will employ 1,000 people and process about 60,000 tonnes of pine nuts a year.

For local residents this is good news – especially after agriculture officials in the southeastern province said recently that this year’s pine nut harvest totalled around 13,000 tons — up about 1,000 tons compared to last year.

Bahadur Mangal, a pine nut trader in Paktia province, told Pajhwok Afghan News that modern agriculture methods still need to be introduced in order for farmers to increase their harvests.

He said however that pine nut harvesting was an important source of income for hundreds of people in the province but that yields could increase if plantations were expanded.

About two years ago President Ashraf Ghani pledged to help turn Paktia’s economy around by starting up a pine nut processing factory and launching other viable projects.

However, residents have said they are still waiting for economic development projects to be launched in the province.

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