MAZAR-I-SHARIF (Pajhwok): Cotton processing factories owners in northern Balkh province say the lack of cotton yield affected their activities and were worried for year to come.
They added, cotton crop yield had been affected by natural disaster this year and if next year the harvest declined too, it will force factories closure.
Noor Mohammad, the owner of a cotton factory, said this year natural disasters affected cotton farms and they were forced to purchase cotton from other provinces at high prices.
He urged the government to assist farmers in the area of battling natural diseases; otherwise factories would be shut due to little cotton harvest.
Fazal Ahmad, another factory owner, told Pajhwok Afghan News that lack of raw materials affected their business and if next year too they could not obtain the required amount of raw materials, they would be forced to close their factories.
Meanwhile, a number of factories’ laborers are also anxious about the closure of the factories, they believe, hundreds of youth would lose their jobs in case the factories were closed.
Sultan Mohammad, a factory worker, said he and 350 other individuals like him worked in a cotton processing facility. But if the factory was closed due to lack of raw materials, they all would render jobless.
Another laborer Sayed Kabir said he was providing livelihood to his household through working in the factory and he would face many hardships and difficulties if it was shut.
However, Balkh agriculture officials confirmed the issue of cotton lands being affected by the natural disaster in the current year.
Mohammad Hussain Azimi, a senior official of agriculture, said although cotton was cultivated on more lands in the province this year comparing to the previous one, but a disease called “sinback” damaged many farms.
He added, his department was striving to combat such diseases through providing modified seeds and medicines to the farmers.
According to the figures provided by Balkh Industry and Commerce Department, 22 cotton processing factories, most of which have recently launched their activities, are currently operating in the province.