Herat saffron to queries on Taliban: An Afghan fair opens in Delhihttps://indianexpress.com/article/cities/delhi/herat-saffron-to-queries-on-taliban-an-afghan-fair-opens-in-delhi/

Herat saffron to queries on Taliban: An Afghan fair opens in Delhi

Three-day exhibition currently on Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry will conclude on Wed.

The saffron,dry fruits,clothes and handicrafts at the Afghanistan Products Exhibition had even well-dressed office-goers taking a break from their busy schedules to haggle for a bargain on Tuesday.

The three-day exhibition currently on Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) will conclude on Wednesday.

It features a wide variety of products from across Afghanistan such as Kandahar in the South,Kabul in the East,Herat in the West and Mazar-i-Sharif in the North.

But not all conversations here were about trade.

A well-dressed gentleman in a stall could be heard asking the trader about bombings in Afghanistan and the Taliban menace,before finally deciding to find out the cost of the saffron from Herat. “Rs 300 for 1 gram,” the trader said.

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This idle curiosity did not go well with many traders. “I am so tired. People have been asking me irrelevant questions since morning,” a trader selling carpets said.

The visitors to the exhibition had a tough time conversing with the Afghan traders as most of them only spoke their native language. Some traders though sprang a surprise and spruced up their conversations with a few Hindi words.

A 100-member strong business delegation from Afghanistan had arrived in the capital last Thursday to participate in the India International Trade Fair (IITF) and in an attempt to draw investors to Afghanistan.

The delegation,which has members from Exports Promotion Agency of Afghanistan (EPAA),Afghanistan Investment Support Agency (AISA) and Afghanistan Chambers of Commerce and Industries (ACCI),was looking for investment and tie-ups in agriculture,construction and mining sectors.

Some of them set up stalls at FICCI while others are taking part in the IITF currently on in Pragati Madian.

Speaking about the business opportunities,Sadaat Naderi,a businessman in the mining sector,said,“Afghanistan is an untapped market with a wealth of minerals waiting to be exploited.”

According to Mohammad Qurban Haqjo,CEO of ACCI,the Afghan government is supporting any foreign direct or indirect investment,and has recently introduced incentives such as low taxes,free land in industrial parks and no barriers to outflow of business earnings.

Addressing the key question of security,the minister for agriculture in Afghanistan said violence was largely localised to regions outside the cities. He said cities were the focus of businesses and were very peaceful.

“The latest bomb blast in Kabul happened six months after the last,” he said. “This could happen in any country.”

Siddhartha Gupta