The Kabul times, Afghanistan Trustable News Agency.

Watermelon yields increase in Khost

KHOST: Watermelon yields have increased in the country’s southeastern province of Khost in the current solar year comparing, the provincial Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock Department said in a statement the other day. “Watermelons were previously grown in few areas, but now they are grown in many areas, resulting in higher yields in the current year comparing to previous year,” the statement said. However, farmers say if they are provided with improved quality seeds, the watermelon harvest could further increase. Farmers say compared to wheat and other crops, watermelon yield is good and its revenue also higher manifold. Shahidullah, a farmers in Tani district, has grown watermelons on his two acres of land. He added that if the provincial agriculture department provided them with chemical fertilizers and modified seeds, Khost would become self-sufficient in production of watermelons He said: “I would grow wheat on my land in the past and its harvest was about half a ton worth only 20,000 Afghani, but the harvest of watermelons earned me up to 90,000 Afghani.” Karim Khan, another farmer said: “Despite being affected by heavy rains and hailstorms, watermelon harvest was better.” He added majority of farmers did not know profession planting of watermelon crop and the agriculture and livestock department should train them in this regard. He said: “The watermelons of Khost province are sweeter than other provinces, if farmers are provided with modified seeds and chemical fertilizers, the harvest of watermelon can increase further”. Munawar another resident of Khost said: “The quality of Khost watermelon is better, they are smaller in size, but have good taste. It takes much time for watermelons of other provinces to reach here, so their taste changes.” But Maulvi Mohammad Zaman Omari, head of Khost agriculture department said that they had shared the problems and demands of farmers of Khost province with relevant authorizes and hoped their problems would be solved soon. Omari said: “Some organizations have promised to provide 1,000 farmers of the province with modified seeds and chemical fertilizers and we are making efforts to attract more assistance for farmers”. He added watermelon harvest reached 530 tons last year and this year’s yield could hit 950 tons. Khost farmers have been growing watermelons on their lands since last five years and this year they planted the fruit on 175 acres of land. Omari said their effort was to provide farmers more facilities in every field in order to develop the agriculture and livestock sector in the province. S. Raqib

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The Kabul times, Afghanistan Trustable News Agency.