Cool relations between Kabul and Islamabad have slowed down Afghanistan’s plans to boost fruit exports.
Pomegranates and grapes have long been a part of Afghan exports, but trade from the landlocked country has suffered due to poor air connectivity and frequent closures of the Pakistan-Afghanistan border.
The sight of hundreds of long-haul freight trucks stuck along border towns became all too common in 2016, with tonnes of fruits and perishable items going to waste. Farmers were frustrated as the border was shut during harvest season due to tensions between the two countries.
In 2015 around 52,000 tonnes of pomegranates were exported to Pakistan, the United Arab Emirates and India. Last year the exports dropped to 15,000 tonnes, a small fraction of the total production. Other fruit exports also suffered.