IEA orders ministries to prioritize ‘generation of power through coal’
The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan’s (IEA) Economic Commission, chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, on Sunday gave orders for various ministries to prioritize projects to generate electricity by using coal.
In a statement, the commission said after “extensive discussions on all issues that the private sector is prepared to invest in” it was decided that the generation of electricity should be a priority.
According to the statement, the commission instructed the Ministry of Mines and Petroleum; the Ministry of Trade and Industry; the Chamber of Industry and Mines; as well as the Chamber of Commerce and Investment, under the leadership of the Ministry of Energy and Water, to generate electricity from coal for industrial parks, and large cities among other sectors.
The commission also ordered the relevant bodies to “set priorities according to the volume of coal and the need for electricity, and then start working on it”.
Afghanistan currently generates over 600 megawatts (MW) of electricity from several hydroelectric plants as well as using fossil fuel and solar panels. However, an addition 670 MW is imported from neighboring Iran, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan but holds 73 million tons of proven coal reserves as of 2016, ranking 62nd in the world.
However, estimates put the total reserves at between 100 million and 400 million tons.
A shortage of power has plagued Afghanistan for decades despite having ample hydropower, coal and fossil fuel resources.
But one successful private partnership has been through Bayat Power, Afghanistan’s largest, Afghan-owned and operated Power Production Company which has the region’s most technologically advanced gas fired electric power plant.
Launched in 2019, this commercial operation provides reliable and affordable electric power to thousands of people in Afghanistan.
Located in Sherberghan, in the north of the country, the epicenter of the nation’s gas-rich region, Bayat Power has steadfastly aimed to provide essential power for Afghanistan’s economic growth.
Powered by a Siemens SGT-A45 ‘Fast Power’ turbine, the world’s most advanced mobile gas to energy power solution, phase one of Bayat Power-1’s operations generates up to 41 megawatts of power for Afghan homes and businesses.
Bayat Power hopes however to eventually roll out three phases in total, that will generate more than 200 megawatts of electricity – enough to serve millions of Afghan residential and commercial clients.
Process of exporting fresh fruit to world markets kicks off: MoIC
The Ministry of Industry and Commerce (MoIC) says the process of exporting fresh fruit to world markets has started.
The ministry’s spokesman Abdul Salam Jawad said that they are trying to market the country’s fresh fruits in order to export them at a reasonable price.
“Fortunately, we were able to export 20 tons of cherries to Kazakhstan, and our other fresh fruit is black cherry, which are ripe and almost ready to package, and we will export them to the United Arab Emirates and Kazakhstan,” he said.
The Chamber of Agriculture and Livestock also said that when problems with the issuing of visas by countries to Afghan businessmen are resolved, they can export more products.
“We have invested in the packaging and in the cold storage areas, and we have the ability to adjust and export this packaging to Europe and America based on global standards,” said Omid Haidari, head of foreign relations of the Chamber of Agriculture and Livestock.
“Unfortunately, due to the lack of air corridors and subsidies from the Ministry of Agriculture, we indirectly export fruits to India and Pakistan, and later Indian and Pakistani businessmen buy from us and export to Europe,” he added.
However, a number of investors say that if the country’s fresh fruit is not marketed, farmers and businessmen will face losses.
“Seven kilos of our watermelons are sold for fifty afghanis, seven kilos of our watermelons from Farah to here [Kabul] cost forty afghanis as fare; the farmer is really very poor,” said a trader.
According to experts, if fresh fruit and other products of Afghanistan are regularly exported, the country’s national income will increase.
Over 3,600 boxes of silkworms distributed to Herat farmers this year
Herat Directorate of Agriculture and Livestock says more than 3,500 boxes of silkworms have been distributed to farmers this year in Zinda Jan, Injil, Guzara and Pashtun Zarghun districts of the province.
This directorate has said that 80 percent of silk work is done in Zinda Jan district.
“We were able to grow about 3,600 boxes with the help of institutions, about 80 percent of which we have grown in Zinda Jan district,” said Khalil Ahmad, general director of Herat agriculture directorate.
“About 20 percent of silkworms have been grown in Injil, Guzara and Pashtun Zarghun districts, which has had good results and the financial status of the farmers has improved.”
The local officials said most work in the silk industry is done by women.
“Almost 60 percent of the silk industry is done by women,” said Ahmad Shah Qawami, head of the silk workers’ union for Zinda Jan district.
This year, the families who are engaged in raising silkworms hope to have good production, now that the silk season is over and many are working to separate the silk thread.
However, the farmers are not satisfied with this year’s market conditions.
“The silk market is weak this year, it was good last year, it was very advanced,” said a silk worker.
The silk industry in Herat has a history dating back 600 years, and many families have preserved this ancient profession.
Silkworms usually feed on the leaves of mulberry trees, which grow in these regions. The industry also provides a livelihood to hundreds of men and women in the area.
Afghanistan Embassy in Ashgabat announces appointment of new commercial attache
Afghanistan Embassy in Ashgabat on Friday announced that Mohammad Haroon Saeedi has been appointed as the commercial attache of the embassy.
Saeedi was introduced in an event on Thursday that was also attended by traders and investors.
Afghan Minister of Industry and Commerce Nooruddin Azizi, addressing the event via a digital link, said that the new appointment is a major step in boosting regional cooperation.
He said that the IEA will continue to support the private sector to increase the level of exports.
Afghan Ambassador Fazl Mohammad Sabir also highlighted the role of traders and investors in expanding economic relations between Afghanistan and Turkmenistan.
He notified the traders about the investment opportunities in the Afghan state-owned companies.
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