Badam- e- Abdul Wahidi
The Abdul Wahidi almond tree is a deciduous tree that grows 7 to 10 metres high, with 9 to 12 cm long leaves with serrated edges and white or pale pink flowers that appear earlier than in other varieties.
The seed is 5 to 7 cm long and weighs on average 1.25 grams. Each flower produces a seed under a white shell. The kernels, also called nuts, are elongated and protrude in the centre, taking on the shape of a bullet. The shell is brown and the nuts are white with a thin skin that breaks easily. All the nuts are the same size in the shell, with a medium-sized nut weighing about 1.25 grams. This almond has a natural flavour and is slightly oily.
The almonds are trees indigenous to Afghanistan, grown in November by direct sowing and grafted in April using the I or T method. The trees bear fruit three to four years after grafting.
This tree is very drought-resistant due to its deep roots, which reach a depth of 4.5 metres in normal soil. It can grow up to an altitude of 1,600 metres.
The flowers precede the growth of the new leaves, showing white and pink blooms. The best temperature for flower production is between 20 and 22°C: in this case, it is classified as a late-blooming almond variety. After the fruit ripens, the husk splits and separates from the shell, and an abscission layer forms between the stem and the fruit, allowing the fruit to fall from the tree. The best date for harvesting is the fourth week of September. The Badam- e- Abdul Wahidi is a species of almond tree native to the Kholm district of Tashkurgan and has spread to other parts of Afghanistan, where it grows very well and has a high yield. This tree has a long life span, growing between 40 and 45 years and is highly resistant to pests and diseases.
The Abdul Wahidi almond can be kept in its shell for at least a year and can maintain resistance to pests. However, it is often affected by worms that create small holes in its kernels.
Nuts are the edible part of the almond fruit. Wild almonds grow naturally in the mountains of the northern, western and southern regions of Afghanistan. Shelled almonds are widely used during the religious festival of Eid (the great Muslim festival after the end of Ramadan) among the communities of Afghanistan.
In recent years, many varieties of almonds have been introduced to farmers by national and international NGOs, and a large number of gardeners are engaged in their cultivation. In 2006, the Ministry of Agriculture initiated a national programme for the development of perennial horticulture with financial and technical support from the European Union to develop horticultural products. Almonds are one of Afghanistan’s main nut products, after sultanas and pistachios, and are sold in domestic and international markets at around USD 60-75 per 7 kg. They are mainly exported to Asia and Europe, particularly to India, Germany, the Gulf countries and Russia.
Due to the high demand on the foreign market and the goodness and quality of Afghan almonds, thousands and thousands of hectares of land have been earmarked for almond cultivation in different parts of the country. The lack of scientific knowledge on the preservation of native varieties will destroy the diversity and native cultivars of almonds, in particular Abdul Wahidi. This is a true indigenous variety from the Kholm district in the provinces of Tashkurgan, Lugar, Bulkh, Dikundi and Ghazni in Afghanistan. Recently, the FAO introduced a foreign variety and most farmers prefer to replace local varieties with this internationally pushed variety.