by Farid Behbud
KABUL, Oct. 20 (Xinhua) -- Hundreds of people have visited the agriculture fair held at Badam Bagh, the biggest agricultural products and handicrafts farm in the Afghan capital.
The farm, with non-asphalted pathways and sidewalks and located on the outskirts of the city, has installed a total of 240 booths full of agricultural products, handicrafts and machinery.
"This is the 19th Kabul Agricultural Exhibition, inaugurated by the ministry of agriculture and livestock in the Kabul Badam Bagh, where farmers, private entrepreneurs, owners of domestic companies and producers from 34 provinces of the country, are invited to exhibit their products and handicrafts," Lutfullah Rashid, spokesman of the ministry told Xinhua Wednesday at the opening ceremony.
A team of musicians are singing at a graveled area near booths exhibiting various types of fresh fruits such as grapes, apples, pears and other agricultural products like potatoes, onions, saffrons, honey, yellow ghee (Afghan traditional cooking oil produced from milk) and handicrafts.
"The three-day agriculture fair is held two times each year; in Nawruz, the beginning of days of new year, and in autumn season, the end of the farmers' harvests," said the spokesman who hoped to have 100,000 visitors this year.
Abdul Khaleq Mubarez, who is from the Samangan province, wants to exhibit his company's dried fruits including almonds, pistachios and walnuts, to strengthen relations with the country's traders and secure a good market for his group's agricultural products.
"Some 2,280 farmers are official members of the Dried Fruit Association, while 252 women as horticulturists, 2,000 women working in processing pistachios, 20 youths including 10 girls as horticulture trainers, are unofficial members," said Mubarez, 47, who introduced himself as being in charge of Samangan Dried Fruit Association.
Security plays a vital role in encouraging women in this traditional society to attend such demonstration farms, as Mubarez called on the government to do more in this respect.
Another participant, Zahra Wafa, representing her small Shah-e-Fuladi Diary Farm, with 118 members in central Bamyan province, was happy to once again attend the this year's autumn season fair.
"We produce dairy products, like butter, curd (dried yogurt), yellow ghee and have brought some samples for marketing," said Wafa, adding that they had sold up to 70 percent of their goods.
Some 60 percent of Afghan workforces are busy in agriculture sector. And 40 percent of agriculture workforces are women, according to official data.
The Afghan government has taken measures to invest in the agricultural sector to create job opportunities for people and boost economy in the land-locked central Asian state.
Decades of war had a devastating impact on the agriculture sector; however, the country has witnessed a 2 percent economy growth in 2016, according to official statistics.
More than 5,000 irrigation canals have been reconstructed since 2001 when the Taliban regime was ousted.
The agriculture fair was scheduled to wrap up Friday evening.