Mulberries Ripen Into a Sweet Deal

Workers at the Omaid Bahar Fruit Processing Facility, established in Kabul with USAID support, sort through mulberries from farm
Workers at the Omaid Bahar Fruit Processing Facility, established in Kabul with USAID support, sort through mulberries from farmers in Panjshir Province.
USAID/ASAP
Panjshir farmers are selling mulberries to a state-of-the-art juice facility in Kabul
7 NOVEMBER 2011 | PANJSHIR, AFGHANISTAN
 
USAID facilitated the business deal, enabling the farmers to sell their mulberries for the first time.
 
The farmers of Panjshir Province, a two-hour drive north of Kabul, have tree after tree laden with sweet, ripe mulberries. The berries were simply a nice treat for villagers in the past, but now, the fruit is translating into income for the farmers and may boost Afghanistan’s exports.
 
The Kabul-based Omaid Bahar Fruit Processing Company sells and exports fresh produce and processes fruit to make juice. The facility buys fruit from local farmers and exports the high-quality produce, sells medium-quality fruit locally, and turns lower-quality fruit into juice concentrate.
 
Under a deal facilitated by USAID and the Afghan Investment Support Agency, Panjshir farmers sold their mulberries to the company for 23.5 Afghanis (52 cents) a kilogram. Omaid paid 15.5 Afghanis per kilogram, while USAID subsidized the remaining cost and provided transportation assistance for the first shipment, 90 tons of fresh mulberry fruit.
 
The farmers were so surprised that someone would pay real money for a product that they mostly threw away, that they sent a delegation to visit the Omaid factory. The delegation was very satisfied with what they saw at this state-of the art juice facility in Kabul and the Panjshir farmers now look forward to reaping the rewards of greater sales to Omaid in the future.
 
Selling Panjshir fruit in the local market reduces imports of juice from other countries like Pakistan and Iran, while generating income and employment opportunities for the local population.
Mustafa Siddqu, the president of Omaid said, “The quality of the mulberry juice we have made is so high, that we plan on buying 500 tons of this fruit next year without subsidy.”
 
Omaid also plans to create a mulberry-pomegranate juice blend, another product for the high value juice market place, to sell in the region and to U.S. and EU consumers.

Last updated: January 06, 2014

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