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Saffron producers appeal for global exports to resume

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(Last Updated On: October 23, 2021)

Afghanistan’s Saffron Producers Union on Saturday called on the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) to help restart the saffron production and export sector, which came to a grinding halt due to the coronavirus pandemic and the change in government.

Officials from the union said that unless something is done to restart business, the saffron industry could collapse.

They said that now, without commercial cargo flights into Afghanistan, their international market flow has dried up.

“We had products, but stopped because of COVID-19. Our products and exports have been stopped. If there is no [export] corridor for us saffron production will be stopped,” said Abdul Basir Azimi, an exporter of saffron.

Officials of the Chamber of Agriculture and Livestock meanwhile called on the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) to find a market for domestic products.

“Our saffron was ranked number one in the world several times, but now faces problems. Export environment should be provided for saffron,” said Mirwais Hajizada, deputy head of the chamber.

Economic analysts meanwhile urged the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock (MAIL)

to support the export of domestic products.

“We have seen that some of our products have a special place in global markets, and have many customers in the world. Now the market for products has disappeared. The basic problems should be solved,” said Saeed-ur-Rahman Imran, an economic analyst.

Afghanistan’s saffron is a valuable revenue generator for the country and the industry employs hundreds of thousands of workers directly and indirectly.

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India sends 2,000 tons of wheat to Afghanistan via Attari-Wagah border

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(Last Updated On: May 21, 2022)

Another consignment of 2,000 metric tons of wheat has been sent to Afghanistan by the government of India and is being transported overland through Pakistan through the Attari-Wagah border, Indian officials confirmed.

The Commissioner of Customs, Rahul Nangare despatched the consignment this week and said: “The Indian government has promised to provide 50,000 metric tons of wheat to Afghanistan, to which we have sent 10,000 metric tons of wheat already. From the remaining 40,000 metric tons today we are sending the first consignment of 2,000 metric tons of wheat.”

India said earlier this year it will send 50,000 metric tons of wheat as humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan overland through Pakistan.

The first consignment of humanitarian aid of 2,500 metric tons of wheat from India reached Afghanistan’s Jalalabad through Pakistan on February 26.

The second convoy of India’s humanitarian assistance carrying 2,000 metric tons of wheat left March 3 and the third and fourth consignment, also of 2,000 metric tons, on March 8 and 15.

The Government of Pakistan in November 2021 had approved, as a special gesture to the Afghan people, the transportation of the wheat and life-saving medicines as humanitarian assistance from India to Afghanistan via the Wagah border on an exceptional basis for humanitarian purposes.

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1.2 million people in Afghanistan employed in carpet industry: Union

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(Last Updated On: May 20, 2022)

Afghanistan’s Carpet Manufacturers Union said this week that currently 1.2 million people are employed in the carpet industry in the country but if the sector grows, thousands more could get jobs.

Union officials have said they want to increase the carpet industry by expanding the business from 18 to 34 provinces. In line with this, they have called on the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) to increase customs tariffs on foreign carpets in order to support the local carpet industry.

The carpet industry in Afghanistan is a long-standing industry through which many families earn a living, but the expansion of this industry requires larger programs.

Union officials have asked the Ministry of Trade and Industry to allocate sections of industrial parks to this industry to help attract more investment.

According to them, currently 95 percent of the market is flooded with imported carpets.

“The domestic market is filled with foreign carpets. We want to offer domestic products to the people at the price and quality that comes to Afghanistan from abroad,” said Noor Ahmad Noori, head association of carpet producers.

Officials from the Ministry of Trade and Industry said they are ready to further support the carpet industry and plan to hold a national carpet expo in Kunduz, Balkh, Nangarhar, Kabul and other provinces.

“We strive to further expand the carpet sector so that we can increase our domestic production and we are ready to meet all the needs of the sector that we have at our disposal,” said Mohammad Naeem Walizada, a ministry adviser.

Economic experts also say that the carpet industry not only provides jobs for people, but can have a positive impact on the country’s economy.

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Corruption at Afghan customs offices almost zero: official

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(Last Updated On: May 20, 2022)

The level of corruption at Afghanistan’s customs department has been stamped out to almost zero, a senior finance ministry official said this week.

In an interview with Ariana News, Mairaj Mohammad Mairaj, head of Afghanistan Revenue Department, asked international anti-corruption institutions to closely study the process of revenue collection in Afghanistan.

“An Islamic system is now in place in Afghanistan. You can see there is transparency. We can confidently say that the level of corruption is nearing zero,” Mairaj said.

The official questioned the transparency of the $2 billion international humanitarian aid to Afghanistan, saying it has not resolved the issue of high level poverty in the country.

“If they give $500 million to IEA, you will not find any poor person anywhere in Afghanistan,” Mairaj said.

On the 10 percent tax on mobile phone top-ups, Mairaj said this money will go to the national budget, and not into private pockets.

On ushr and zakat, the official said that it is not mandatory for people to pay zakat to the government.

“If one is obliged to pay zakat, he may give it to his relatives, other poor people or the government,” Mairaj said.

He said that millions of dollars of cash that is regularly dispatched to Afghanistan is not intended for IEA, but is spent on UNAMA programs.

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