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Carpet weavers in trouble due to govt’s negligence

Carpet weavers in trouble due to govt’s negligence

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Feb 10, 2020 - 17:36

MAZAR-I-SHARIF (Pajhwok): Carpet exporters say only six of 40 carpet weaving and exporting companies are operational in the country’s north due to government’s negligence, insecurity, high material prices and mismatching international market demand.

The Chamber of Commerce and industry of northern Balkh province says carpet weavers should meet international market demand by standardizing their products.

Abdul Sattar Baigzada, head of Carpet Exporters Union in the north, said that 40 companies of carpet production and export had been active in the zone a few years ago but currently only six of them were operational.

He said insecurity and lack of market for their products were two major challenges for the carpet industry.

“Routes passing through Balkh, Jawzjan and Faryab provinces are insecure and traders are not interested to transport carpets on these ways”, he said, adding that the mentioned problems caused the carpet industry to face stagnation.

The government did not assist carpet traders to resolve their problems, he continued, citing low carpet production and low demand in international markets another reason.

“A few years back, we would produce two million square meters of carpets annually, of which 100,000 square meters were sold inside the country and the rest exported to European countries and the US, but unfortunately the demand for Afghanistaninfo-icon carpets has reduced,” he said.

He said most of the times Afghan carpets were smuggled to Pakistaninfo-icon from where they were exported to the international market under the trademark of Pakistan.

He asked the government to help carpet weavers and traders in northern region prevent the industry from stagnation.

Ibrahim, 50, a resident of Aqcha district of Jawzjan province, has left carpet business three years ago.

He owned a workshop of carpet weaving in the past and had hired eight people ,but he left the business due to some problems three years ago and now was busy at tailoring.

“We had to give great efforts for producing carpets, but there were no customers for them in the market or we had to give them on a very low price that could not even met the cost,” he said.

Ibrahim said the quality of Afghan carpets was very high but people chose foreign ones due to their low price. He added he was satisfied with his current work of tailoring.

Mahboba Zamani owns a carpet weaving company in Mazar-i-Sharif, capital of Balkh province, and has employed 150 workers.

She said that her company was trying to produce carpets according to the demand of international market.

She said she first took orders from carpet exporters and then produced the product according to that order. Zamani added that they faced difficulties in obtaining raw materials, an issue that interrupted their production.

She asked the government to support carpet weavers by providing them with raw materials.

On the other hand, a number of carpet sellers in Mazar-i-Sharif say that high prices of Afghan carpets were a serious problem.

Haji Hussain, who owns a shop of Afghan carpets in Mazar-i-Sharif city, said that most of carpets in local markets were imported from Turkey, Iran and Uzbekistan.

He said people bought foreign carpets because their prices were very low compared to domestic carpets.

“The Afghan carpets have very limited customers, “in the past we sell produce 50 to 100 meters of carpet in a day but now we cannot sell even 10 meters of it in a day,” he said.

Hussain said insecurity was another reason that eroded traders’ in interest to invest in domestic carpets.

However, the Balkh Chamber of Commerce and Industry says that carpet weavers should make their products according to the demand of international market.

Nasir Ahmad Qasemi, executive director of Balkh Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said that low sales of domestic carpets were because they were not produced according to the customers’ demands.

“People in the US and Europe now want different things, but unfortunately the design of our carpets is still old fashion,” he said.

Qasemi said the hat Balkh Chamber of Commerce and Industry was trying to provide information to carpet weavers about international demands for carpets.

He confirmed many carpet weaving factories in the north were closed because their products were no longer sold in the market.

Carpet weavers and exporters in Balkh asked the government to increase tax on foreign carpets so people would buy domestic ones.

Carpet is one of Afghanistan’s important industry which played a significant role in the country’s economy.

mds/ma

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