Migration of weavers 70 percent decline in carpet exports from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa

July 12, 2013

decline in carpet exports
decline in carpet exports

The repatriation of 50 percent Afghan carpet weavers to Afghanistan and the shifting of the 30 percent remaining artisans to Lahore has brought 70 percent decline in the export of the product from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Talking to Business Recorder, prominent carpet exporter and a former chairman of All Pakistan Commercial Exporters Association (APCEA) Mazharul Haq attributed the mass migration of the weavers because of harassment at the hands of police.

He said that 50 percent of weavers had returned to their homeland while out of the remaining 30 percent had shifted to Lahore, where exporters had established several carpet manufacturing units. “The lack of facilitation and deteriorating law and order situation in the province is forcing the artisan of the carpet industry on shifting to other parts of the country, particularly Punjab,” added Mazharul Haq.

He said that more than 10,000 people are directly or indirectly concerned with the carpet industry only in Peshawar, the provincial metropolis of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Fifty percent export quality carpet is manufactured in Peshawar while the remaining is imported from Afghanistan. He said that carpet manufactured in Afghan capital, Kabul is also brought to Peshawar for cutting, washing, colouring and finishing.

The carpet weaving is a specific artistic work and has a special language known as ‘Talim’ which could be earned only in childhood. This special art is utilised in the carpet manufacturing in Turkmenistan, Turkey, Iran and Afghanistan. The best qualification of a girl for wedding in Turkmenistan is weaving. Weaving, he said had become domestic work and even breast feeding mums can waving at the time of feeding her baby. He said that the standard of washing is better in Lahore.

He said that the project of the establishment of Carpet Nagar was aimed at shifting of the art of weaving to Pakistanis as presently 70 percent artisans are Afghans while the remaining 30 percent are local. The establishment of such facility would have to provide one-window operation, where washing, colouring will be carried out outside the city and will also enable buyers to come and purchase the product.

Haq was of the opinion that the establishment of the project Carpet Nagar would have stopped the shifting of the artisans and exporters would also have promoted. He said that carpet worth Rs 500 million has been exported annually to Germany, South Africa, United States and Japan. He said that especially ‘Chobi’ vegetable dye has big demand in the world market. However, he said such achievements are linked with improvement in law and order and establishment of Carpet Nagar.

He said that a site was already identified near Nisata Motorway Interchange at Charsadda, but the project was dropped and now a new place has been selected near Khazana Sugar Mills on Charsadda Road while a fund of Rs 50 million was also allocated, but due to the lack of interest among several departments particularly Planning and Development it could not be materialised.

The cluster of the industry in Peshawar is situated in Afghan Colony, Faqirabad, Ring Road, Nishat Mills and Chowk Sue karno. The Carpet Nagar was a good project for collecting the scattered carpet cluster at one place. However, he said former chief secretary, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Ghulam Dastagir Akhtar was least interested in the scheme and was lacking time for holding meeting with the stakeholders of the sector. He said that Small industries Development Board (SIDB) is still serious in the implementation of the project.

Several donors, he said, including Netherlands and USAID were ready for provision of assistance in the implementation of the project. For example, Netherlands have committed the provision of free water treatment plant while European Union was agreed on extending an assistance of US $810 million. Similarly, USAID was interested in the construction of residential colony for the artisans.  Courtesy Business Recorder

Published in ZaraiMedia.com

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