SAR-I-PUL (Pajhwok): Blacksmiths in northern Sar-i-Pul province say they can’t compete with imported products due to expensive raw materials and high prices of coal and urge the government and the public to support them.
Haji Mohammad, one of the blacksmiths in Sar-i-Pul city, told Pajhwok Afghan News: “We produce shovels, hatchets, axes, sickles, other farming and construction tools, but the import of similar low quality tools has affected our business”.
He said their market had stagnated mainly due to skyrocketed prices of coal and raw materials they needed.
Haidar, another metalworker, said low quality tools were imported to the country while they produced good quality products. “But people buy shiny and cheap imported tools, we ask the government to support domestic products so our business can grow”.
He said: “If a tool costs us 300 afs, the same low quality tool is imported and sold at 150 afs, it challenges our market”.
Din Mohammad, another blacksmith, said their business was gradually vanishing and each year blacksmiths switch to other professions such as shop-keeping because they could not compete with foreign products.
Sayed Abdul Qadir Ayubi, the provincial Industry and Commerce department head, said he had shared problems being faced by blacksmiths with higher authorities and they were in search solution.
He added that the Ministry of Industry and Commerce (MoIC) also planned to increase taxes on imported iron tools also produced locally in order to support artisans.