The Gardez Vegetable Association starts selling to a new market in Pakistan
8 NOVEMBER 2010 | KABUL, AFGHANISTAN
Salam Jan offered produce like apples and saffron from his native Paktya Province to the world for the first time at the Kabul International AgFair 2010. Now, Salam Jan is taking orders from buyers in Pakistan and is confident that he can command more business because of the USAID-supported AgFair.
Salam Jan is president of the Gardez Vegetable Association and represented more than 425 farmers from Paktya in eastern Afghanistan. He used Afghanistan’s largest agricultural fair, which drew almost 35,000 people in October, to find new markets for his fruit and to learn more about promoting his goods.
International buyers from Tajikistan, Turkey, and India visited Salam Jan’s booth, and he hopes to expand his apple shipments into these countries. The Afghan Chamber of Commerce and Industries also expressed interest in exporting his apples to Germany this year.
In total, the Kabul International AgFair 2010 generated almost $2 million in confirmed deals for Afghan producers and traders like Salam Jan, and an estimated $5,800,000 in intended sales over the next 12 months.
Salam Jan’s exposure to outside markets started with the support of USAID at the end of the apple season in November 2009. He participated in a series of trial apple shipments to Pakistan. Eight trucks carried his apples across the border to Pakistan and into markets in Peshawar and Islamabad. Salam Jan witnessed first-hand the fruit and vegetable market in Islamabad and understood the importance of good packaging and marketing in order to compete with Chinese products.
Before the AgFair and the trial apple shipment to Pakistan, farmers from Salam Jan’s association were not optimistic about the prospects of their apples reaching regional and international markets. Now, farmers are thinking about the positive impact of their apples on their livelihoods and the association’s business.
Salam Jan remains confident that for the farmers, good income results in better lives. He will continue encouraging his fellow farmers to grow and cultivate these crops so they can reach new markets not only within Afghanistan, but around the world.
Last updated: January 20, 2015