Many of you know that Afghanistan's poppy crop was essentially eradicated by the Taliban until Bush attacked them for not letting him put a pipeline through Afghanistan. As a result of the attack Afghanistan now is the worlds predominate grower and alone produces more than the entire world can consume! This made Bush the Taliban's premier money source!
Now this ancient land is telling the world that it has a trendy, new replacement for its dreaded poppy crop: sweet, juicy pomegranates. The country will stamp a logo on all boxes of the pomegranate for export: a drawing of the sliced, red fruit with seeds spilling out and a label that announces, "Anar, Afghan Pomegranate."
Anar is the word for pomegranate in various regional languages. Afghanistan officials hope the Western-style sales savvy will raise the pomegranate's cachet and provide its farmers with a lucrative alternative to growing opium poppies. It's the latest step in a $12 million, U.S.-funded initiative to modernize and expand Afghanistan's pomegranate industry, which has long depended on domestic sales and small-scale exports to nearby countries. Even these exports have been severely hit by years of border fighting.
Even though the Afghan pomegranate is considered one of the best in the world, it has been very much a local delicacy. The fruit is about the size of an apple, with a thick, reddish skin and hundreds of seeds embedded in tough, white pulp. This time of year, the red seed casings are consumed everywhere in Kabul — as juice, spooned straight from the fruit, or piled on a tray and sold by the scoop to picnickers in parks
Source of antioxidants: Pomegranates are riding a wave of popularity in Europe and the United States, where they are celebrated for their high levels of antioxidants, which protect cells from damage by compounds called free radicals. U.S. domestic supply comes largely from California's San Joaquin Valley, augmented by imports from Israel, Turkey, Lebanon, Greece and Mexico.
Three years ago now Afghanistan exported its first pomegranates to outlets of the French chain Carrefour in Dubai. The fruit, larger and redder than many pomegranates imported from Turkey or North Africa, was a hit. Carrefour quickly placed orders for all its Middle East stores, according to U.S. funders and Afghan officials."
They found out that Anar from Afghanistan is probably the best tasting. It's sweet; it's juicy," Afghanistan Agriculture Minister Mohammad Asif Rahimi said at the launch ceremony at a Kabul hotel. Afghanistan's best export — agricultural or otherwise — is opium. It produced 8,200 tons of the drug in 2007, up 34 percent from the previous year and it keeps going up. Though opium production is expected to drop back this year, Afghanistan will remain the world's largest producer of the crop by far. Hopefully Pomegranates will replace Opium