Bamyan, one of the country’s historic and touristic provinces, is the center of growing agricultural crops. Besides festivals of pomegranate, orange and almond’s blossoms, Gul-e-Kachalo ‘Potato’s blossom’ festival was held for the first time in Bamyan province for two days to attract tourists. The festival was held Thursday by provincial directorate of agriculture and with financial cooperation of the Asian Development Bank.
Related to the festival, provincial director of agriculture for Bamyan Abdul Wahab Mohammadi told The Kabul Times correspondent, “The festival was unprecedented and held for the first time in Bamyan. It aimed to find market for Bamyan potatoes and to attract tourists to pay visit to the province. Meanwhile, provincial directorate of agriculture is determined to introduce farmers of the province to private sector, policy-makers and high-ranking government officials in order to find a good market for potatoes of the province”.
“In the festival, various exhibitions as exhibition of local handicrafts, 30 kinds of foods and dishes, movies, photography, local music and others were held”, Mohammadi said, adding that the festival was attended by more than 2000 people including representatives from Asian Development Bank, UNDP, international organizations and high-level government officials. Moreover, a group of girls and boys by playing local dambora ‘musical instrument’ sang local song and read out poems.
Mohammadi Further said that the festival was held in national level, but it was determined that the festival would be held internationally in future.
Related to Bamyan potato prodcuts, provincial director of agriculture said, “Bamiyan’s potato provides more than 60% of the potatoes in the country and it is estimated that potatoes products in the province will reach 350,000 tons. Fortunately, provincial directorate of agriculture has constructed a number of small cold-stores which can address the needs of 2500 famers in the province, but the province needs standardized cold-stores which can store all products of farmers; moreover, farmers in the province are also facing with challenges and problems as they do not have modern machineries to increase their agricultural products”.
In connection with future plans of provincial directorate of agriculture, Mohammadi said, “We have various plans for future. Currently, there are 22 types of potatoes cultivated in Bamyan. We are trying to provide potatoes in accordance to needs of market. Moreover, provincial directorate of agriculture is working to increase crops in the province as well as to introduce farmers to private sector and national traders to find better market for potatoes and other crops of the province. At the same time, we are trying to construct standardized and big cold-stores in future so that Bamyan can deliver potatoes to market for the whole year”.
Answering a question in connection with collecting crops in the province, provincial director of agriculture Abdul Wahab Mohammadi said, “When crops are collected, delivery begins urgently. Unfortunately, Afghanistan markets do not have the capacity to attract all crops potatoes of Bamyan. Afghan traders export our potatoes to Pakistan where all potatoes are stored and are sold back after a few months on Afghanistan. The second issue facing Bamyan is lack of standardized and big stores which can store potatoes for six months as potatoes and wheat are the main agricultural crops in the province”.
It is worth mentioning that farmers in Bamyan can produce 300 – 350,000 tons potatoes annually and export to other provinces as well as to neighboring countries and help in economy development of the country.