KABUL: Operators of Gulbagh Farm – in the southeast of Kabul – said this week that government has reneged on a contract signed in 2012 and cancelled their lease agreement despite them having invested hundreds of thousands of dollars into the project.
Abdul Mujib Mansouri, head of Paiman-e-Afghan Pioneer Company that runs Gulbagh Farm, said the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock (MAIL) canceled the contract unilaterally and that as a result they would have to move hundreds of cattle and chickens from the farm.
As one of the biggest farms in the country, Gulbagh Farm was first established by the Bulgarian government fifty years ago. The farm has over the years supplied hundreds of thousands of liters of milk to Kabul and bed thousands of cows.
In 2012, Paiman-e-Afghan Pioneer Company signed a 34-year contract with government to operate the farm.
Based on the contract, the company would pay an annual rent of 1,000 AFs for each hectare of land for the first four years and thereafter 30,000 AFs for each hectare of land a year.
“What is the reason for the honorable ministry of agriculture wanting to take back this farm?” asked Mansouri.
He said: “The ministry (of agriculture) would likely gift this farm to someone else while we have invested between $700,000 and $800,000 USD in it.”
However, MAIL officials said the company has not adhered to its contractual obligation over the past five years. MAIL officials said the decision to cancel the contract was taken by the Council of Ministers.
“Our information shows that they (the company) rented a number of cows and brought them to the farm in order to show the farm is active. This was done for at least the past five years. Second, the company has not paid rent (for the past few years) which is owed to government. It (the firm) owes at least three million AFs to government,” said Jahangir Miakhail, general director of livestock and animal health at MAIL.