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Afghan Carpet Exports Badly Hit by COVID-19 Crisis

10 August 2020

Carpet weavers said exports have fallen 30% over the last five months amid the COVID-19 crisis.

Afghan carpet exports have reduced considerably over the last five months due to the COVID-19 crisis, which has resulted in a decrease in earnings for those working in the industry.

The industry has exported at least 10,000 square meters of carpet in the last five months, but it was more than 60,000 square meters in the same period last year.

“We have many problems since the start of the coronavirus crisis. We had fewer exports and the exports are stopped now,” said Diljam Manan Qasimi, deputy head of the carpet producers and exporters association based in Kabul.

Workers at the industry said they earned Afs100 ($1.30) a day, but it has been reduced to Afs50 ($0.60) right now.

“Our work was good ahead of the coronavirus outbreak. Now, we cannot afford our expenditures,” said Janana, a carpet weaver.

“We call on the government to address our problem and help us in this sector,” said Marzia, a carpet weaver.

Carpet exporters said that they have over 200,000 square meters of carpet in their stocks amid a 30% reduction in their exports.

“There are many challenges. We cannot pay our daily workers,” said Hafiqullah, owner of a carpet-weaving factory in Qala-e-Qazi area in Kabul.

Another problem, the industry owners said, is that still 90 percent of Afghan carpets are sent to Pakistan for processing and then they are sent to the international market branded as Pakistan-made.

They said that the price for an Afghan carpet in the world markets is $300 for each square meter.