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Carpet Sector in the North Gets a Boost
KABUL, March 29: On Sunday, March 22, local carpet traders and producers in the nation's top carpet-making region completed a five-day carpet fair in Mazar-e-Sharif. Held during the Nowroz celebration, the Northern Region Carpet Exhibition provided the opportunity to 14 carpet and six handicraft traders to showcase their fine handmade arts and generate retail sales from local residents as well as many of those visiting for the New Year holiday.
The Governor of Balkh Province, His Excellency Mr. Ustad Atta Mohammed Noor, inaugurated the exhibition in a ribbon-cutting ceremony, stating that his government was â€œpleased to support this important economic sector in Northern Afghanistan, in collaboration with Afghan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI), the Afghan Carpet Export Guild (ACEG), and U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID),â€ each of whom co-sponsored this event. The Director of the Economy of Balkh Province and top representatives from ACCI and ACEG were also in attendance at the exhibition's opening.
Event participants were similarly pleased with the outcome of the event, as one stated that â€œthis exposition provides us with the ability to reach out to new customers, which has been difficult in the past due to the remoteness of our location and the security situation in Afghanistan.â€
The event yielded an estimated $34,000 USD in direct sales for all traders and an additional, yet undetermined, number of future contracts for carpets and gemstones. This sales figure is a testament to the income-earning potential of hand-made carpets and handicrafts in the area. Approximately 1,000 people attended the exhibition over the course of its five days. With those visiting from other provinces and neighboring countries, this exhibition earned a great level of publicity for the fine products available locally, which can increase both national and international market access for Northern producers.
USAID, through its small and medium enterprise development project, seeks to build exactly these types of market linkages for producers through the creation of and attendance at trade fairs. These trade links encourage further investment, in sectors like carpets, that have the potential for economic growth that will generate greater levels of income and employment for local communities.