The Kabul times, Afghanistan Trustable News Agency.
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Cotton a promising alternative to poppy for Afghan farmers

Afghan men work in a cotton field in Balkh Province near the city of Mazar-e-Sharif, north of Kabul on October 10, 2008. Afganistan has been embroiled in conflict for more than three decades leaving the country with little resources for development. AFP PHOTO/ Manpreet ROMANA (Photo credit should read MANPREET ROMANA/AFP/Getty Images) ** TCN OUT **

Many farmers in the country have abandoned cultivating poppies and turned to growing cotton. They consider cotton a suitable alternative to poppy and intend to cultivate more cotton in their farmlands. The Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation, and Livestock of the country reports an increase in cotton production across the country. The ministry’s spokesperson Masbah Mustain, states that the rainfall conditions were better in the current year, resulting in an increase in cotton production compared to the previous year. “We had favorable rainfall in most provinces, and we predict that cotton production will increase compared to the year 2022,” the spokesperson said. Meanwhile, some farmers in the southern province of Helmand state that they have shifted from poppy cultivation to cotton and are requesting assistance from the Islamic Emirate in the agricultural sector. Farmers in this province want the government to provide them with improved seeds so that they can obtain higher yields from their agricultural products. The MAIL of the country states that cotton yields have increased in 17 provinces. The Ministry reports that 72,000 tons of cotton were harvested in the past year, and more farmers are cultivating cotton instead of poppy. A total of 72,493 tons of cotton were produced, which were purchased by merchants, the Ministry reported. According to the ministry, the highest cotton is cultivated in provinces such as Takhar, Kunduz, Baghlan, Samangan, Balkh, Jawzjan, Kandahar, Helmand, and several other areas. Furthermore, the Ministry of Industry and Commerce states that Afghanistan exported cotton worth $168 million to foreign countries in 1401 AH (Solar Hijri calendar). “Most of our exports, including cotton, are to foreign countries such as Uzbekistan, Iran, Pakistan, Turkey, China, and Germany, and the total amount of export is around $168 million,” said Abdul Salam Jawad Akhundzada, the spokesperson for the Ministry of Industry and Commerce. According to information provided by local authorities in Helmand province, there are currently nearly 40 cotton processing factories operating in the province, employing approximately 4,000 people. Saida Amadi

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The Kabul times, Afghanistan Trustable News Agency.