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Cash-strapped Helmand cotton factory inactive since 5 years

Cash-strapped Helmand cotton factory inactive since 5 years

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Nov 18, 2018 - 20:06

LASHKARGAH (Pajwhok): The cotton processing enterprise in southern Helmand has been inactive over the past five years due to financial issues, rendering hundreds of people jobless.

The factory built 50 years ago in Lashkaragh city, the capital of Helmand, would purchase 35,000 metric tons of cotton from farmers and produce clean cotton, oil, soap, oil cake and fuel.

Abdul Baqi, head of the Bost Enterprise in Helmand, told Pajhwok Afghan News that they had not purchased cotton in the last five years due to lack of money.

He said hundreds of the enterprise’s workers also lost their jobs after the factory operations suspended.

“We have not purchased cotton from farmers since 2013 and our services are currently halted,” he said.

He said that many officials had promised improvement of the factory over the last 17 years but only two power generators were provided so far.

After the factory’s activities came to a halt, farmers also declined growing cotton and started cultivating puppy, he said.

Mohammad Wazir Khan, another official of the enterprise, said that the factory would mostly benefit the government and farmers.

“Around 800 people were working in the factory, thousands of farmers and traders were getting benefit from this business, but now only 100 people work there and the production is almost nothing compared to the past,” he said.

He said besides some neighboring countries, mafia groups were also triying to stop such factories so they offer their own products to the market.

“Our machinery is fine what is needed is a campaign to encourage farmers to grow cotton and the government to provide some fund,” he said.

A farmer from Nadali district, Bismillah Khan, said that he would dispatch a large amount of cotton to the factory every fall season.

“In exchange of cotton, the factory would give farmers money, oil, cotton cake, soap and cotton seed,” he said.

Governor’s spokesman, Omar Zwak, said the Bost Enterprise had stopped operating due to a shortage of budget.

He said President Ghani has promised to provide budget for the enterprise and currently the budget transfer process to ministries was underway and it would soon arrive to Helmand.

Few days back, President Ashraf Ghani during his visit to Helmand promised to provide 300 million afghanis for the Helmand Bost Enterprise.

mds/ma

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