Afghanistan Business

By | December 16, 2021

Soil products. – Most of the Afghan territory is unsuitable for agriculture, only possible in the plains and wide valleys, mostly with the aid of artificial irrigation. Farmers are small owners, tenants who pay a fixed rent in money or in kind, sharecroppers, laborers. Before 1895 there were also serfs.

The Afghāni are very skilled in deriving canals from rivers and building underground conduits (k ā r ē z). The cultivation systems are very primitive: they still use wooden plowshares, and fertilization is unknown. Many now barren regions could be cultivated by modern means; the Sīstān, well irrigated, would become, according to Curzon, a second Mesopotamia.

In almost all of Afghānistān there are two crops a year: the first is sown at the end of autumn and is harvested in summer (wheat, barley, slow, chickpeas, peas and beans); the second is sown at the end of spring and harvested in autumn (rice, millet, panic, corn). Castor, madder and asafoetida abound; fruit is very abundant, consumed all year round by a large part of the population, and exported dried to India in large quantities. Wine is not produced for religious reasons, but table grapes are highly esteemed, especially that of Kābul.

The breeding is still primitive; the wool of qarākūl sheep (northern Afghānistān) is inferior to that of Bukhārā. The fat-tailed sheep provides, with poultry, the exclusive meat food of the population. Cattle are few, poor, and give scarce milk. Horses and camels are exported and will be able to gain importance by better looking after their breeding. Fishing is practiced only in the lakes of Sīstān.

The exploitation of the considerable mineral wealth, already mentioned in relation to the geological conditions, finds serious obstacles in the lack of roads, railways, timber and water (Trinkler).

Industry and trade. – The only mechanical industries of Afghānistān are the state ones set up by the Emir ‛Abd ar-Raḥmān by British and German technicians, in the capital: weapons and ammunition, soap and candles, tannery, shoe factory, match factory and textile wool. The fabrics and shoes are sold on the market, at legal prices that traders cannot exceed; none of these artifacts are exported. For Afghanistan economics and business, please check

On the other hand, the craftsmanship is developed. In the cities, artisans live grouped by trades and form guilds. They work artistically valuable copper pottery, terracotta pots (the most beautiful are the blue enamelled ones of Istālīf), carpets in the Turkestān (main market Mazār-i Sherīf), and at Herāt, especially in Adrakshān, of a dark blue and red color. Silk is produced in Herāt, Qandahār and its surroundings, in the villages along the Arghandāb. The p ō st ī n industry, sheepskin jackets with wool inside, which had its center in the province of Qandahār, has grown rapidly following the demand of the Indian market, and has spread to the regions of Kābul, Ghaznī, etc. Felts are manufactured in Qandahār and exported to India, Persia, Transoxiana. In N. camel and goat hair provide felt and fabrics.

Trade is underdeveloped: before the country was open to foreigners, it reached just 40 million French paper francs a year. In 1925 it was one billion: 600 million in imports and 400 in exports. The country’s products are mostly consumed locally, and a large part of the foreign trade is through transit, from Russian Turkestān to India and from India to Central Asia. The most exported products are: grapes, apricots and dried almonds; at a certain distance followed by skins and sheep’s wool, carpets, silk fabrics. Almost nothing is exported to Europe, given the distance and bad communications; exportable products exist in too limited quantities to withstand competition on large markets.

According to official Russian figures, exchanges with Russia would have reached six million gold rubles in the first half of 1928. Figures on Afghan trade with Persia are missing. Trade with China is insignificant. Trade with India occupies the first place; here are official Indian statistics (in pounds) for the five years before and after the war:

The trade from Meshhed to Herāt and Qandahār is done by Persians, that of Bukhārā to Kābul and India exclusively by the tribe of the Povindah (branch of the Ghilzā’ī). Farmers, shepherds, warriors and traders, they make the journey from India to Bukhārā twice a year with caravans of horses and camels, as well as minor expeditions. They travel armed, forcing or buying passage through the territories of the tribes; summer graze the herds around Ghaznī and Qal‛at-i Ghilzā’ī, at the beginning of autumn the M. Suleimāni pass, go to India, and accompany their goods by rail and steam to Calcutta, Karācī and Bombay. In April they reform the caravans and repatriate. Their activity, which slowed down after 1920, is still remarkable.

India exports cotton fabrics, indigo, dyes, sugar, hardware, leather, silver to Afghānistān. It imports timber, fruit, legumes, wheat, legume meal and other edibles, asafoetida and other drugs, spices, wool, silk, livestock, leather, tobacco. On the Afghānistān trade with other countries we have the following data: from Russia Afghānistān imports pottery, samovars, skins, sugar, airplanes, and exports lapis lazuli there; from Japan, cotton fabrics, trinkets, porcelain; from Germany, hats, stationery items, trinkets, photographic material, cars, weapons, lamps, agricultural machinery, glassworks, airplanes, and exports Karakul skins there; from the United States, trinkets, lamps, stationery items, and exports skins, carpets, sheep guts; from France, cars, weapons, electrical and radiotelegraphic material, and exports leather and carpets there; in Italy it imports carpets.

Afghan trade with Germany is largely in the hands of a German-Afghȧna Trading Company, based in Kābul since 1921. Afghan trade agencies exist in Peshāwar, Quetta (Kwētā) and Parashinar in India, and some Afghan legations have employees commercial.

The currency established in 1926 is based on the afgh ā n ī (27 afgh. = I British pound), divided into 100 p ū l. The ancient rupìa k ā bul ī has not been withdrawn; its value, set by the government, is 11 k ā bul ī = 10 afgh ā n ī, and 1 k ā bul ī = 91 p ū l. The metric system has been in place for some years in Afghānistān.

Afghanistan Business