Afghan traders visit fresh fruit market in Dushanbe Tajikistan. Photo: CBARD-AIM / 2021

The Community-Based Agriculture and Rural Development—Access to International Markets (CBARD-AIM) project connects farmers from Nangarhar, Farah and Badghis provinces to national and international markets that offer higher prices and for local products. The project provides a strong incentive to reduce poppy cultivation and supports farmers to produce high-value fruits, nuts, and vegetables, and increase their value through improved sorting, grading, and packaging. High quality of products result in increased demand within higher-end regional and international markets.

Despite the continued issues of COVID-19 pandemic and it’s negative impact, the CBARD-AIM team organized a trade mission to Tajikistan as part of the planned international events, and successfully negotiated several deals between Afghan and Tajik traders. On 29 May – 8 June 2021,  CBARD-AIM supported six Afghan traders from Nangarhar and Farah provinces, to travel to Tajikistan, visit markets, meet Tajik importers, and gain new insights into potential end-markets for their products.

Additionally, the purpose of this mission was to establish an effective and sustainable platform to link Afghan traders with Tajik importers of agricultural products and provide Afghan traders an opportunity to sign a series of profitable deals and establish agreements for future contracts.

During the trip, CBARD-AIM in collaboration with UNDP’s Livelihoods Improvement in Tajik-Afghan Cross-border Areas (LITACA) project conducted a series if Business to Business (B2B) events and arranged visits to wholesale markets and higher-end retail supermarkets. This provided a chance for traders to explore import and export of agricultural goods between Afghanistan and Tajikistan, and identify the types and number of potential logistics and transportation companies that can expedite the successful conveyance of agricultural produce between the two countries.

“I consider this mission as a very positive and informative experience for our Afghan traders. We explored the Tajik markets and visited border between Afghanistan and Tajikistan.” said Ezatullah Rahimi, the owner of Rahimi Frahi Ltd. “It was a great opportunity for us to sign deals with Tajik traders which will be a great market for products from Farah. We are thankful to CBARD for conducting the B2B meetings with Tajik buyers, it increased our knowledge of the markets and how to do packaging, sorting and grading for Tajikistan markets.”

Over the course of the trade mission, the traders signed a total of $1,542,345 million in contracts and established the basis for an additional $4 - 5 million in potential deals. They were also able to visit the Bazar Bariz Somon wholesale fresh fruits and vegetable market, Dehqan bazar of fresh fruits and vegetables and Mehregan market of fresh and dry fruits and vegetables. The farmers also participated in the Afghan-Tajik Business Forum and visited a cold storage facility in the outskirts of Dushanbe city.

The CBARD-AIM project aims to conduct future international missions, similar to the Tajikistan Trade Mission that was a unique opportunity for the Afghan traders, who successfully established preliminary agreements for export of tomato, cucumber, potato, onion, and carrot to the neighboring markets, and secure other potential business contracts.

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