ZARANJ (Pajhwok): There has been an 80 percent increase in the watermelon and melon yield this year in southwestern Nimroz province, an official said on Sunday.
Agriculture and Irrigation Director Akbar Sharifi told Pajhwok Afghan News Nimroz had produced 160,000 to 170,000 tonnes of watermelon and melon last year.
The fruits were sent to Herat, Kandahar, Ghazni and Kabul besides being exported to neighboring counties, according to the agriculture director.
The official expected a bumper production this year, estimating the yield at more than 300,000 tonnes. The fruits will be sold in Nimroz and sent to Herat, Kandahar, Ghazni and Kabul provinces, as well as and neighboring countries.
Sharifi linked the production boost to the availability of enough water in Helmand River, Lashkargah Canal the Khashrod River. Farmer guidance by the Department of Agriculture and prevention of plant diseases also contributed to the good yield.
Haji Asif, one of the growers, said he had collected 200 to 300 tonnes of watermelon and melon this year. The fruits brought him 200,000 afghanis in income.
He confirmed sufficient water availability that boosted his crop. In 206, the river water was available for three to four months, but this year the rivers and canal were in full flow for six months.
Omaid Baloch, administrative chief of Chakhansor district, said his town had produced a huge quantity of watermelon and melon that were exported to other provinces.
He added that about 30 truckloads of melon and watermelon were sent daily to neighbouring provinces. The price of one kilogram of watermelon decreased from 25 afghanis to 5 afs and melon from 30 afs to 8 afs.
Nimroz province is located southwest of Kabul, bordering Iran. About 80 percent of its inhabitants are farmers, who mostly growing melon, barley and wheat.