TALOQAN (Pajhwok): Some blacksmiths in northern Takhar province are concerned at the growing customer interest in using imported tools. They complain the tendency has left a debilitating impact on their business.
Caught in a crisis, local blacksmiths are urging the public to lend a helping hand to the ancient industry by using domestic products.
According to some craftsmen, blacksmithing is an industry on the wane. The market is no longer favourable for such tools.
Their income does not suffice to meet their needs. They want the government to pay attention to steering the industry out of the current sluggish phase.
Abdullah, 78, inherited the profession from his ancestors some 50 years ago. At the moment, he is providing services to a limited number of customers in a corner of the city.
He acknowledged the business was not in good shape. If not supported, the industry would slip deeper into stagnation, he warned.
Khal Mohammad, another Taloqan-based blacksmith, confirmed industry had shrunken more than ever and they met business expenses with great difficulty.
The widespread use of imported items by the people had left the business in decline, said Khal Mohammad, who stressed the recession would be arrested.
Growing customer interest in purchasing imported tools and lack of support from the authorities are the main reasons for stagnation in the blacksmith industry, suppliers believe.
Ahmad Wasim, a shopkeeper in the provincial capital, said the market was flooded with foreign tools. Variegated designs and colours lured buyers, he said, explaining domestic products lacked such qualities.
Although the quality of the domestic blacksmith products is good, customers are interested in purchasing imported items.
He urged the people to support the domestic industry and industrialists by purchasing local products.
Maulvi Ziauddin Delawari, head of the Trade and Industry Department, said efforts were underway to keep the industry alive. The government remained committed to supporting domestic products and helping blacksmiths, he added.
In the not-so-distant past, blacksmiths enjoyed a bustling market in Taloqan. But a limited number of professional people are currently associated with the business.
Lack of support from the government and falling customer levels have led to the decline in this industry, affecting a large number of artisans.