Feature: Ambitious Afghani soap maker dreams of tapping local, international markets

Source: Xinhua| 2017-08-30 20:20:43|Editor: Song Lifang
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by Abdul Haleem, Manan Arghand

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan, Aug. 30 (Xinhua) -- Sayed Sarwar Amani, a small business owner who used to live in the former Taliban stronghold in the southern Kandahar province, has since the collapse of the Taliban regime dreamed of contributing to the rebuilding process of his war-torn country and achieve self-sufficiency.

To achieve his commendable dream, a determined Amani established a small soap-making factory in 2005 in Kandahar, with a small budget and a dozen workers from the local community.

Branded with the word "ARGHAND," a name derived from the famous Arghandab River in Afghanistan's southern region, the perfumed soap, made with the essence of natural plants, nuts and the nectar of fruits including pomegranates and grapes, has so far been exported to the United States and Canada.

Amid ongoing militancy and increasing security incidents in Afghanistan, Amani, in his 50s, is still hopeful that his business with the passage of time will flourish so that he can hire more workers and find more markets for his ARGHAND soap.

Describing the soap as an "all-natural product based on a health formula," Amani stressed that his ARGHAND soap is a good solution for the beautification of all kinds of skin types.

"The price of one pack of Arghand soap, which contains four individual pieces of soap, is 14 U.S. dollars in the United States and also costs 14 Canadian dollars in Canada," Amani told Xinhua recently.

However, he noted that the price of ARGHAND soap in the local market is beyond the reach of ordinary people.

"A four-soap package in the market of Kandahar city costs 320 afghani (4.6 U.S. dollars) and ordinary people can't afford to buy it," said the factory owner.

Nevertheless, he remarked that government support is essential for the factory to improve its packaging system and find appropriate markets to sell the soap at lower prices to the locals.

"Government support is essential for the factory to produce a variety of soaps with standard packaging to market the product at home and abroad," Amani maintained.

"In the beginning, I had never thought that one day my factory's products would find their way to the U.S. and Canadian markets. But my dream has been realized," Amani said proudly.

He also predicted with confidence that his factory's products would one day enter more luxury markets in the Afghan capital city of Kabul and neighboring countries.

"Maximizing minimal resources can help you to create job opportunities for some people on the one hand, and on the other, it facilitates a businessman like me to earn better livelihood and prestigious place in society," said the ambitious man.