Traders from Afghanistan are displaying expensive hand-embroidered carpets and rich agricultural products like oversized fruits, famous dry fruits and juices at the ongoing India International Trade Fair here these days.
Carpet prices up
Explaining the reason why the prices of his embellished and painstakingly created carpets have galloped this year, Mohammad Hiraq, who is participating in the IITF for the third time, says: “Earlier, entire families were involved in the business of weaving carpets. We provided them wool of camel, lamb and sheep and the entire families were involved in producing a spectacular range of carpets.” But this year it became difficult because of shortage of workers.
“To make matters worse, most families have migrated abroad and are running carpet business from there. All this has affected the business of domestic carpet entrepreneurs. The carpet business is no longer profitable but hopefully things will improve,” he adds.
“Our country is Number One in woollen carpets and this trade is largely driven by women. In silk carpet, the leaders are your State of Jammu & Kashmir and our neighbouring country of Iran,” says another exhibitor.
Exhibitor M. Asif, participating in the fair for the first time, is showcasing divergent varieties of carpets. “The price of carpets starts from Rs.4,000 and goes up to Rs.80,000. The carpets have been procured from different regions like Herat and Baluchistan.”
Twenty-eight traders dealing in agri-businesses are participating in “The Pride of Afghanistan” Pavilion at Hall No. 18.
Another exhibitor, Javed, is selling 250 grams of almonds at Rs.400 and pistachio at commensurate rate. A packet of 250 grams ofalu bukhara(dried plums) is available for Rs.200.
Apart from packaged fruit juices, fruit juice concentrates and purees of Afghan pomegranates, several fruit and vegetables such as apples, apricots, peaches, plums, watermelons and carrots are also up for sale.
Since 2006, this land-locked country has been consecutively participating in the annual event. Last year, the India Trade Promotion Organisation honoured it with a gold medal for being the most visited pavilion.
Afghanistan has also met with significant commercial success at the fair in the past. “Afghan traders of fresh and dried fruits were able to secure contracts with over 25 companies from South Africa, Uzbekistan and the host country. This resulted in the sale of over 20,000 metric tonne of produce,” said an official.