NEILI (PAN): Daikundi is a newly established province where industry and investment could not flourish yet.
Neili, the capital city of Daikundi, has a small bazaar with people from Kabul, Ghazni and Kandahar use to come to buy stuff.
In private sector, as many as 42 domestic and foreign organizations, one branch of Kabul Bank, eight construction companies, 30 gas stations and four telecommunication networks are functioning in Daikundi.
People of the province are not economically stable.
More than 90 % of Daikundi residents are farmers. The province has old agriculture systems and undeveloped, which is one of the important bases of economy in Daikundi. A large number of people immigrated to Kabul, Mazar Sharif, Herat, Ghazni and neighboring countries due to rampant poverty and unemployment elsewhere in the province.
The people of Daikundi complained the officials of the agriculture department were inefficient who did not bother to develop the vital sector in larger interests of the locals and the country as well.
Mohammad Afzal, a resident of Shahristan district said that “we have fruit orchards but we do not know from where we arrange pesticide. And, if the agro department cannot provide us then at least guide us how to use pesticides.”
He said he once complained to an official of the agriculture department to provide pesticides for his almond orchards but the official flatly refused to extend his help and cooperation in that connection.
Mahdi Mauhedi, head of the agriculture department, said they had taken effective steps to facilitate the growers of the province, adding the most important achievement of his department was the construction of a warehouse with the capacity of 5,000 tons.
He said the warehouse had been constructed in Ashterlai district, adding that the farmers were formally trained and told about Saffron.
Distribution of 4,200 tons of foodstuff, construction and extension work of a complex in Shahristan district, training of more than 1,700 individuals in the sectors of horticulture, food immunity, construction of five greenhouses and 20 nurseries all over the province are among the jobs done by his department, he recalled.
He acknowledged considerable decrease in almond products, saying its reason was lack of specific budget and supporting programs such as spray, distribution of saplings and supply of irrigation water. He said products of almond reached as many as 7,500 tons in 2012 but its growth hit new low in 2013.
According to head of agriculture department, almond had been one of the main products of the province and a total of 553 million afghanis revenue was generated from almond last year.
Trade and investment:
The province has lack investment activities and missing almost all kinds of public and private investment because Daikundi is a mountains region with scattered population and lack of mines resources. Another backwardness of the province was that it had no industries.
People lead a traditional life and mainly work in their field, livestock and orchards. They fulfill their necessities of life such as rice, cooking oil, flour, clothing and fuel from Kabul, Ghazni and Kandahar.
Youth of the province are mainly working in Iran and Pakistan because of lack of employment opportunities back at their home province. Some of them became addicted in Iran, when they return home they became burden on their families’ shoulders.
Daikundi has mine only in the sector of construction and decoration but the mines are not extracted because of government inefficiency.
Daikundi is located in the central highlands where enough workforces are available for production of handicrafts but the industry faces serious challenges.
Handicrafts in Daikundi include weaving of carpets and multiple kinds of embroideries and shirts that are mainly made by women.
The handicraft industry in Daikundi could not flourish because of lack of unawareness among those associated with the occupation.
For example, colour and designs which make better the quality of the handicrafts is not available and people use the traditional designs which are less popular in markets.
Abdur Rauf Sarabi, an employee of Daikundi Dar-ul-Fanoon and Relief Center said people were very expert in agricultural products and handicrafts, having huge capacity to promote the industry but they had no knowledge how to find markets to sell their products.
He said Daikundi Dar-ul-Fanoon and Relief Center was a local non-governmental organization that helped people how to increase their products and find an appropriate market to sell their products.
On the other hand, roads linking Daikundi with other provinces remained block throughout the winter because of heavy snow falls which caused high prices of food and fuels and affected the export of the province.
The province is linked to Bamyan, Uruzgan, Helmand, Ghor and Ghazni provinces. The prices of fuels and foodstuff increased in 2012 during winter with special reference in Neili which created multiple problems for the people.
Mohammad, a resident of Neili said that “we are poor people and the prices of food and fuel increased dramatically.”
He said the price of a seven kilogram flour bag reached to 300 afghanis, adding he was really wondering how to feed his eight-member large family.
He went on to say his source of income had been a daily work, but in winter he could not find work, leading him to face serious economic problems.
He demanded the government to control the hike in prices and keep the inflation in control.
Qurban, a shopkeeper in Neili, said the prices of seven kilogram wood had increased to 150 afghanis while the same amount was available at the rate of 110 afghanis before closure of roads.
Similarly, the prices of a 50-kilogram flour was available at the rate of 2, 000 afghanis, an 18- litre cooking oil at the rate of 1,500 afghanis and 25 kilograms rice was being sold at 2, 300 afghanis in Neili bazaar but before the closure of the road flour had available at 1,500 afghanis, cooking oil 1, 200 afghanis and rice at 1, 900 afghanis.
He said when the road had blocked shopkeepers had a little foodstuff left, which finished in less than a week.
Daikundi is far from Kabul and Qandahar. The fares of vehicles are very high even when the roads are opened.
Uzra Jafari, mayor of Neili, said the prices of exports had reduced to half due to rough roads and closure of routes.
She said that “the prices of seven kilograms almond is 400 afghanis while the same amount of almond in Kabul and Qandahar provinces are available at the rate of 1, 000 afghanis. But foodstuff and fuels in Kabul and Qandahar are very cheap as compared to Daikundi.
She said she had taken several measures to keep the prices in control but prices were always high because of the transportation cost.
She said food and fuels in other districts had not been as high as it had been in Neili.
The deteriorated condition of road to Kabul and insecurity of road to Kandahar had been the main reason of high prices in Neili. The free market system didn’t have the role to fix the rates.
In accordance with the 10th article of the constitution, the government encourages, supports and guarantees the security of private investments based on free market system and law.