Case study

Afghan Cotton for Afghan Carpets

An Afghan carpet business has increased its international sales, created over 300 jobs and is producing high quality yarn in Afghanistan.

Sahib Zaman Carpets

Thanks to UK support through the Afghanistan Business Innovative Fund (ABIF), Sahib Zaman Carpet Company (SZCC) has installed a new cotton yarn spinning line in their factory and is using its own yarn to make high quality carpets to export.

Afghan carpets are world-renowned for their quality and artistry and are exported to the region, Europe and even the Americas. However, the scale of production and export of carpets has always been limited. It’s difficult to make the yarn which is needed to produce carpets. Also, the country’s infrastructure was badly damaged by decades of conflict in Afghanistan and the technical expertise needed to spin yarn was lost. Therefore, cotton yarn had to be increasingly imported from other countries, making it harder for Afghan carpet producers to find high-quality cotton yarn. As a result, the quality of their finished carpets deteriorated.

Over the past two years, with help from ABIF, Afghan-owned SZCC developed and implemented plans to revive cotton yarn production in Afghanistan and now produces its own cotton. As a result, the business now has a reliable supply of high quality home-produced cotton. This has meant that SZCC has been able to increase the quantity and quality of its carpets and now exports to both regional and international markets.

The owner of SZCC said:

We have an efficient partnership with ABIF that helped us expand our business and create 322 direct jobs as well as 1,000 indirect jobs.

Most of these jobs are filled by ladies who are producing some of the best quality hand spun wool yarn in Afghanistan. With our cotton and wool spinning investments, we are helping to ensure that Afghan carpets can rely on high-quality Afghan raw materials and do not need to import them.

The company produces more than 110,000 kg of wool yarn a year and is able to produce more than 360,000 kg of cotton yarn as carpet raw material. These items are used by SZCC in their own carpets and also sold locally to other carpet manufacturers in Afghanistan.

ABIF is funded by UKaid and supports innovative businesses, to help boost income and employment opportunities in Afghanistan.

Published 8 October 2015