KUNDUZ (PAN): Economy of the people of northern Kunduz province depends on agriculture and livestock but residents and growers complained about shortage of irrigation water, warehouse and market access for their agriculture products. 
Kunduz growers face irrigation water shortage, lack of warehouse and market access
Sher Khan Port, linking Kunduz province with neighboring Tajikistan known as the friendship bridge, was constructed over the Amu River, which greatly contributed to the economic development of the province. Local businessmen were importing commercial goods from Asia, Middle East, Persian Gulf and other countries through Sher Khan Port.
Abdul Basir, an official of the agriculture, irrigation and livestock department said agro sector would get considerable progress if the concerned authorities concentrate to develop the agriculture sector with building more water dams.
He went on to say agriculture and livestock sectors were going on path to development with growers had good earnings over the past decade. Kunduz comprised more than 230,000 hectors of irrigated land and 48,000 hectors of rain-fed land, he added.
Talking to Pajhwok Afghan News, Abdul Basir said they were collecting thousands of tons of agriculture crops and fruits such as wheat, barleys, rice, grapes, apples, almond, pistachio, onion, potato, cauliflower, tomato each year.
In the past, authorities concerned were paying great attention to develop the agro sector, giving chemical fertilizer and improved seeds of wheat and rice to farmers. 
He said melon orchards yielded great products the current year as compared to the past, where many growers cultivated melon and compensated the losses they had suffered in the past. 
This year, melons were cultivated over 10,000 hectors of land, generated one billion and 750 million afs income, according to officials who said 90 percent melon crops has been damaged as a result of crops related diseases in 2012.
Abdul Shakoor Wahabzai, a plant protection officer at agriculture, livestock and irrigation department, said they had distributed diseases prevention drugs of vegetables among growers after being identified the disease confronted to melon orchards.
He said they sprayed vegetable drugs on 36,000 of acres of orchards of melon, with the disease had now fully eliminated.
Nasrudin, a resident of Imam Sahib said they did not receive vegetable protection drugs on time.
Business and Investment:
Officials from Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Industries (ACCI) in Kunduz said commercials activities were improved as compared to the past in the province, leaving positive impact over local economy.
Improved security had encouraged Afghan and foreign traders to invest in the province with a good environment to import fresh and dry fruits abroad, said Abdul Rasool Safari, head of ACCI office in Kunduz.
He said local officials always heard about the problems facing by the investors with special reference in Sher Khan Port where commercial goods of merchants were being stopped due to unknown reasons. However, the troubles come to an end after the sacking of Sher Khan Port custom director.
Governor Inayatullah Khaliq said Kunduz had a better environment for investment and development of traders, saying the governor’s office was fully supporting national businessmen. He said reconstruction work on Sher Khan Port and commercial town would begin soon once their negotiations with the ministry of commerce and industries could be finalized.
He said the town was to be built over 747 acres of state-owned land, providing commercial installations and 2,000 residential plots.  
Many residents of Kunduz were skilled labourers such as handcrafts, coppersmith, tailor, embroidery and other fields. Moreover, small factories of waste papers, cement, ice, chemical fertilizer, flour, rice and paper have contributed to the economy of the province.
A large number of men and women in Kunduz were weaving Jackets, brush, handkerchiefs, men worn shawl, coat and clothes, which had good markets inside and outside the country.
Ironsmith, goldsmith, coppersmith, carpentry and hide business were among other handcrafts of the province, but those were at the verge of collapse due to lack attention of officials. 
Abdul Ghayoor 55, coppersmith said: “The prices of raw materials are in peak and many people who suffer poor economy prefer to purchase cheap goods from Pakistan.” He said he was born in coppersmith family, but the business was going to collapse by each passing day.
People prefer to purchase copper goods importing from abroad, especially from Pakistan instead of similar domestic products, the ACCI head said, adding he was striving to promote the art of coppersmith and provide a market for it inside and outside the country in future.
Despite fresh fruits, dry fruits such as pistachios, walnuts and almonds were also being cultivated in Kunduz province.
Shaista, a dry fruit trader said the market of dry fruits linked with the market of fresh fruits, adding they dry fruit would have good market when fresh fruits crops yielded good products.
Abdul Basir Faqiri, provincial official of agriculture, irrigation and livestock department said they were striving to establish a number of warehouses in Kunduz with support of donor agencies to facilitate the farmers’ community.