Photo: MAIL via X

Afghanistan’s Cotton Harvest Surges by 40%, Taliban Claims 

KABUL, AFGHANISTAN – The Taliban Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation, and Livestock (MAIL) reports that cotton production in Afghanistan has increased by more than 40% this solar year compared to the previous one.

In a statement on Wednesday, February 14, the ministry said that during the solar year 1402, which spans from March 21, 2023, to March 20, 2024, approximately 93,630 hectares of land in Afghanistan were planted with cotton, producing 122,455 metric tons. Last year, the country cultivated 54,869 hectares of land with cotton, producing 72,493 metric tons.

According to the statement, Helmand, Balkh, Takhar, Nangarhar, and Kandahar provinces were among the top contributors to cotton production in Afghanistan.

Afghanistan, a landlocked country, relies heavily on agriculture to sustain the livelihoods of the vast majority of its population.

Following the Taliban’s ban on poppy cultivation in the country, according to the Taliban ministry, the majority of farmers across Afghanistan now focus on harvesting and producing cotton.

Last year, the Taliban Ministry of Industry and Commerce reported that in the year 1401, Afghanistan exported $168 million of cotton to other countries.

“The majority of the cotton we exported from Afghanistan is to Uzbekistan, Iran, Pakistan, Turkey, China, and Germany, and the amount of our exports is about $168 million,” Akhundzada Abdulsalam Javad, the spokesperson of the Ministry of Industry and Commerce said.

Meanwhile, Mohammad Yunus Momand, the head of Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Investment (ACCI), says the country needs standardized cotton processing facilities so it can export   cotton thread and oil to neighboring countries.

“We need to construct a huge oil production facility in Afghanistan so that we can process oil from cotton seeds, and export it abroad. We can export cotton thread to South Asia, India, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Bhutan. If necessary, we can export cotton to Europe,” Momand said.

According to the Taliban Ministry of Agriculture, cotton processing factories have been built in the provinces of Kandahar, Helmand, and Balkh at the moment, with efforts underway to construct them in other parts of the country.

“The Ministry of Agriculture has decided to build the cotton processing factories, together with the private sector, for the sake of a better cotton market,” said Musbahuddin Mustaeen, the Taliban spokesman for the ministry.