With a wide variety of dry fruits, herbs, fruits, saffron and
intricately woven colourful carpets, Afghan stalls are a major draw
at the ongoing India International Trade Fair here that is on till
Nearly 50 Afghan businessmen are participating at the fair,
reminding people flocking to Hall 12 A in the sprawling Pragati
Maidan grounds of Rabindranath Tagore’s famous tale “Kabuliwala”,
what with their Pathani suits and traditional headgear.
past two years we have been getting very good response here,” said
Rahmanullah Khan, a dry fruits vendor from Nangarhar in Afganistan,
who has joined 30 fellow delegates, exhibiting a range of products
from handicrafts to leather goods.
“Last year here, the gross sales for our vendors ranged
$10,000-$15,000 per day. I hope this year will be much better. I
expect the five days reserved for business to result in some good
future contracts,” Khan told IANS.
optimism was evident by the queries he and his fellow vendors were
managing to generate - with equal support from the United States
Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Afghanistan
Investment Support Agency.
other vendors at the pavilion said that the response from India for
their almonds, pistachios, cashew and raisins was very encouraging.
“There has always been a huge demand for our dry fruits. Traders
from Khari Baoli (a wholesale market in Old Delhi) have been
flocking to our stalls. This year, I can see that carpets are also
in good demand,” Said Abdul Najib, another dry fruits vendor.
Afghan dry fruits are of very superior quality. They are really
good. After all they are Kabuliwallahs,” said Lovely Singh, a Delhi
based trader who came for wholesale contracts.
Afghan vendors are also pleased by the support being extended by the
Indian government and feel trade is the only way they can hope for
normalcy back home after decades of strife and conflict.
“This is a very good opportunity for us. In the past years, exports
were severely curtailed. We had to rely on the domestic market.
These fairs are a good opportunity for us to hope for a better
future,” said Mansoor Ahmad Saidy.
“Participating in such trade fairs helps us expand our production
back home. It also encourages the growth of private sector in our
country,” added Saidy, who represents an NGO, Afghan Women Social
Business Development Association.
Along with the Afghanistan Investment Support Agency, the NGO is
also hoping to attract foreign investment into the country in areas
like farming, telecommunications, banking, micro-credit, real estate