Centres for Kandahar women’s handicrafts in offing
KANDAHAR CITY (Pajhwok): Officials say centres for selling and buying women’s made handicrafts are being built in seven districts and the capital of southern Kandahar province to improve their economy.
Kandahar Economy Director Mohammad Rahim Rahimi told Pajhwok Afghan News the facilities would be constructed in Kandahar City and its nearby five districts including Arghandab, Dand, Daman, Zheri and Panjwai and two remote towns Maroof and Arghistan.
He said the centres would perform two tasks ---- giving loans to women to buy raw material and buying their products and selling them at the same facilities and abroad.
He said the structures would enable women to earn extra money by cutting out the middlemen who currently earned the most from sales of women’s made handicrafts.
“Because they buy handicrafts from women against a throw-away price and sell them on a high rate. Women depend on traders to find market for their goods.”
Rahimi cited an example, saying Kandahar’s famous hand-woven front bodices were purchased from craftswomen against up to 5,000 afs each by traders who sold them for up to 13,000 afs each in the bazaar.
The official said women spent months making handicrafts, but they earned less from their products than traders. That was why the provincial government started work on a plan to strengthen women’s economy, he said, referring to the proposed centres.
Rahimi said the centres would bring together craftswomen and provide them an opportunity to form associations and find market for their products in foreign countries through Internet and with the help of traders.
The centres would also showcase products famous in districts to attract buyers at home and abroad, he continued.
The official was confident the long-term project would yield positive results and would be extended to other parts of the province.
Kandahar Women’s Affairs Director Ruqia Achakzai said the proposed centres would help flourish rural industries run by women and would improve their economic condition.
She told Pajhwok Afghan News the centres would encourage businessmen to find market for women’s made products in all parts of the country and abroad.
Several women associated with handicraft industry said their products had good market value but a big part of the income ended up in pockets of businessmen.
One of them, Khatira, a resident of Dand district, said she tailored beaded bodice dresses at home and sold them to shopkeepers in the bazaar.
She said hand-woven embroidered tops consumed huge energy and time as each top took five to six months to complete. But she was offered very low price in the market for her products. She said shopkeepers offered her 5000 afs for each dress, but they sold the same for 13,000 afs to 15,000 afs.
She said the real problem was a lack of market for their products and if trade centres were built exclusively for women’s handicrafts, it would enable them to sell their goods themselves.
Durdana, a resident of Arghandab district, expressed her happiness over the proposed centres for women’s handicrafts. She said the encouraging aspect of the project was giving women loans to buy raw materials.
She said there were many women in the town compelled to work against nominal wages. If the proposed centres provided women with loan money and purchased their products for reasonable price, it would not only empower the gender, but also promote the hand-made art.
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