The Union of Carpet Producers and Exporters in Afghanistan’s western region has revealed a consistent export of over 80,000 square meters of carpets monthly, marking a steady growth in export volumes. However, while the figures show promise, the absence of direct access to global markets necessitates routing Afghan carpets through Pakistan to reach European, American, and select Asian countries.
“Based on our survey conducted in 1402, we estimate that between 80,000 to 100,000 square meters of carpets are shipped to various countries each month,” noted Mohammad Rafi Naderi, the union’s head. This trade route predominantly channels carpets through Pakistan, reaching markets in the US, Canada, England, Europe, and several Asian nations.
Despite improvements in the local carpet market, sellers in Herat city remain constrained in directly sending domestically handwoven carpets to global markets. Their concern stems from the prevalent practice of Afghan carpets being labeled and exported as products of neighboring countries, emphasizing the urgent need for authentic promotion of Afghan-made carpets in the global arena.
Abdul Khaliq Qaderi, a carpet seller, voiced the prevailing sentiment, lamenting, “Traders no longer come to us; our goods now transit through Pakistan, bearing the label of Pakistani goods upon export.”
Recognizing these challenges, Herat’s Department of Industry and Commerce acknowledged recent advancements in the export process. Bashir Mohammad Seerat, the department’s head, highlighted ongoing efforts to enhance the carpet industry and streamline global exports. Seerat disclosed plans to designate specific zones for optimized export procedures, quality control, and improved packaging.
Moreover, to further bolster the export of carpets from Herat, plans are underway to establish a dedicated facility for packaging carpets, aiming to enhance efficiency in the export process.
The industry’s determination to overcome hurdles and attain direct access to global markets underscores the potential for growth in Afghanistan’s carpet sector. The concerted efforts by industry stakeholders and local authorities signal a promising trajectory toward establishing Afghan carpets on the world stage.