Herat (PAN): Though the economy of Herat people mainly depends on agriculture and livestock, business and industries activities witness record boom, officials said.  
However, people of the province complain of facing multiple problems in agriculture and livestock sectors.
Offering a rosy picture of development activities, Water and Power Minister Ismail Khan said that 40- megawatt electricity would be generated including the irrigation of 70, 000 hectares land from the Salma Dam. He held out assurances that the dam is scheduled to be completed within two years.  
Faqir Mohammad Bayangar, provincial head of agriculture and livestock said besides construction of Salma Dam, another dam in Zindajan District would be completed within one year. He informed that the yet-to-be-built Zindajan Dam would help irrigate around 50, 000 hectares of barren land.  
He went on to say that plan has already been chalked out to build the dams on Harirood River, adding that currently its waters flow uselessly to Iran.
Bashir Ahmad Ahmadi, head of agriculture department planting extension said that wheat is being cultivated on 220, 000 hectares while the rest 67, 000 hectares is rain fed. In a greater development, he said that the harvest of wheat crop in the province surges to 300, 000 tons as compared to 230, 000 tons last year.
Though the province has flourishing saffron and fruits orchard, the government does not extend he direly-needed support to boost the sector, which would contribute to revenue generation of the country, locals said.
Sharif, a resident of Guzara District told Pajhwok Afghan News that he has cultivated five acres saffron but the tragedy is that there is no market for his product. Going into details, Sharif said that last year he collected three kilogram of pure saffron but he was forced to sell each kilogram at the rate of Af. 75, 000 because of lack of market while its market value is much higher than that.
Provincial head of agriculture department said against the backdrop of his department support to the famers of saffron growers, around 900 acres saffron was cultivated in 15 districts.
The biggest problem that the farmers are confronting with is the absence of proper market for the product while the government does not demonstrate serious approach to minimize the problems of the farmers. This state of affair force farmers to sell their products through private sectors.
And orchard owner in Pashtoon Zarghoon District said that there is huge growth of his products but the absence of cold storage facilities most of the time leaves his product rotten when the temperature soars.
He vehemently demands of the government to help build cold storages and explore markets for their products abroad. Bashir Ahmad Ahmadi, head of provincial agriculture department planting extension said that the government has taken multiple steps for addressing problems being faced by the farmers’ community, adding that the province has six cold storages while the construction of the seventh storage is underway.
Herat has 40 different kinds of grapes and various kinds of peaches with the agronomists are of the opinion that fruits of the province have the best quality. Herat raisin and grapes are also popular.
Trade and Investment:
Herat Governor’s Spokesperson Muhayuddin Noori told Pajhwok Afghan News that more than $1 billion has been invested to repair and make functional around 300 factories at the industrial park of Herat.  Giving minute details, he said that $100 million was invested back in 2002 in Heart while $35 million are earmarked for investment in current fiscal year of which some of the amount is already invested.
He said that Herat Industrial Park has construction materials, food, motorbikes, iron melting, and other multiple factories, which products are being exported to other provinces as well.
Feroz Alaf, deputy of Herat chamber of commerce told Pajwhok Afghan News that not only locally, the Afghan products have great demand in foreign markets. Quoting as example, he said that the Super Cola beverage has good market in Central Asia and the marbles have good market in European countries, adding that Afghan saffron and carpets have excellent demand abroad.      
Haji Asmatullah Wardak, owner of iron melting factory noted with satisfaction that he has invested $14 million and in return he produces 80 tons of construction materials daily, expressing optimism that the production would hit double digit next year. The number of the employees of the factory will surges to 1, 000 from 350 after the installation of the new phase.
Torialai Ghawsi, owner of marble factory and member of Herat chamber of commerce steering committee told Pajhwok Afghan News that shuffling in Herat security leadership led to improved secrurity parameters in the Industrial Park.
Herat Police Chief Rehmatullah Sapai said that keeping in view greater security of the public, his department has plans in hands to bolster security of the businessmen. The businessmen are hinting at growing insecurity but they vehemently complain of higher custom bills.
Feroz Alaf, deputy of Herat chamber of commerce demand of the government to help them curtail custom bills, adding that building investors’ confidence and exploring markets for them, and a transit route should be found besides Pakistan and Iran.
Herat residents said that people still produce classic handicrafts but the marked is not as flourishing as in the past.
Shikib Ahmad, employee in a turban factory in Herat said that there were around hundred turban producing factories with 1, 200 employees a decade ago but now only one factory is functional with ten employees. 
Saida Jan, owner of a carpet weaving factory said that over 50, 000 people mostly women associate with the business.  
Herat has a special market for handicrafts known as Bibi Khadijatul Kubra where people with special reference women offer their handicrafts for sell. The handicrafts includes rugs made of animals hide, copper made materials, marble made stuff, embroideries as well as saffron and dried fruits.   
Ayamuddin Ajmal, provincial head of historical monuments said that the marble is one of Herat’s ancient industries, adding that a training center has been established where 70 people are enrolled. He said that the center would help bolster the marble industry.
Following repair of the marbles of Herat historical monuments, plans are underway to repair the marbles of other historical monuments throughout the country while the Roza in Mazar-i-Sharif and the Babur Garden in Kabul authentic the move.  
The jewelry industry is showing upward trend in Herat including the silver industry. Herat has painting and calligraphy culture and the subjects are being taught in Kamaludin Behzad School.