Afghan carpet weavers say that carpet exports are down by 70 percent, due to lack of air corridors and lack of international demand.
Deljam Manan Qasemi, deputy head of the Kabul Carpet Weavers' Union, said: "According to the figures we obtained from the ACCI, previously up to 12,000 square meters of Afghan carpets were exported every month, but this figure has been reduced to 2-3 thousand square meters per month since the closure of the air corridors."
"The reduction of international customers’ demand for Afghan carpets and also the closure of the air corridors over the last two or three months has had a direct and negative impact on the carpet industry. As a result, carpet exports decreased by 70 percent, as the carpet industry owners could not afford to export their products by paying the costs themselves," he added.
Meanwhile, several carpet weavers in northern provinces say the recession in the carpet industry and lack of demand for carpets has triggered an increase in unemployment among women carpet weavers in the province.
"At the moment they (carpet weavers) cannot find a job, or a carpet to weave because the carpet manufacturers do not receive enough orders to manufacture more carpets," said Abdul Rahim Fattah, director of a carpet weaving company in Aqcha district in Jowzjan province.
Najiba, a carpet weaver in Kunduz, said: "We support our families from the wages that we earn from weaving carpets.
However, the wage is very low, and our problems are many."
The carpet industry is an important industry in Afghanistan and has a global reputation.
n addition to the problems of COVID-19, competition outside Afghanistan and the poor returns on reselling to other countries, there are serious challenges in the carpet industry in Afghanistan.
The Ministry of Industry and Commerce says that soon it is preparing a support package with funding for carpet weavers to restore their businesses.
"The Ministry of Industry and Trade will announce a support package to encourage carpet weaving companies to increase their exports abroad, and it is also planning to launch six foreign expos and several domestic exhibitions for the carpet industry aimed at marketing or attracting more customers,” said Fawad Ahmadi, spokesperson for the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
According to official figures, in previous years and before the war, about 20% of the country's economic incomes were achieved from carpet exports.