Increased domestic production to help cut imports
KABUL (Pajhwok): Officials at a week-long domestic products exhibition that got underway in capital Kabul on Tuesday said they planned to decrease Afghanistan’s imports by increasing domestic production.
The exhibition was inaugurated by the Afghanistan Investment Support Agency (AISA) in cooperation with the National Exhibition Centre.
Mohammad Qurban Haqjo, AISA head, said officially the value of Afghanistan’s annual imports stood at $8 billion, with half of the imports comprising edibles. He added goods worth the same amount of $8 billion were annually smuggled into Afghanistan.
Afghanistan exports products worth only $500 million to foreign countries.
Haqjo said reducing the huge imbalance in exports and imports needed enhanced quality and quantity of domestic products and bringing down their prices.
He said it should be determined which province had potential for what kind of agricultural products and investments should be focused on them.
He said AISA had started economic surveys in Kabul, Kandahar and Herat provinces and the surveys would take three months to complete, urging the relevant organistaions to cooperate with AISA in this regard.
He said AISA was also working on a strategy to improve the quality and quantity of domestic products and how to bring down their prices.
Agriculture Minister Assadullah Zamir said his ministry planned to provide better facilities for those eager for investment in the agricultural sector. The ministry, he said, would help investors through establishing industrial parks, agricultural farms and providing lands.
According to Zamir, Afghanistan exported fruits and vegetables worth $116 million during the first three months of this year and the figures were expected to rise.
Industrialists at the exhibition urged people to prefer domestic products over foreign. Kefayatullah, Mashal dairy products owner, told Pajhwok Afghan News they produced 15 to 20 tonnes of dairy products per day. “I think the more people use domestic products the more import of foreign products will diminish.”
Some visitors at the expo said they supported domestic products but the producers should supply their products at an affordable cost.
Samira, a resident of Khairkhana locality, said: “I feel proud when I see good domestic products. But it would be much better if our industrialists pay more attention to reducing prices.”
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