For the last decade, talc miners and traders have operated individually in the sector resulting in less productivity and lower revenues. The lack of coordination has also resulted in insufficient exposure necessary for obtaining assistance from government and development programs. That is expected to soon change as talc miners and traders from across Nangarhar Province founded the industry’s first ever Talc Association in Jalalabad. During the opening event, more than 250 members elected the director, deputy director, and other board members of their association. USAID’s Incentives Driving Economic Alternatives for the North, East and West (IDEA-NEW) project provided technical assistance, planning expertise, and resources to enable the association’s founding.
Talc is abundantly available in the Khogiani, Deh Bala, and Sherzad districts of Nangarhar, considered the most insecure areas of the Province. Miners use simple tools and basic machinery in quarries to extract the talc. On a daily basis, more than 200 truckloads of unprocessed talk are exported to Pakistan. In 2009, total exports exceeded 54,000 tons. Each quarry can employ 15 to 20 people.
After the association’s work is underway, the number of quarries will include more than 50, increasing talc production and providing steady jobs to hundreds of rural residents. In addition to technical support, IDEA-NEW will expose talc traders to international markets and encourage the companies to process talc into talcum powder for use in shampoos, soaps and paints.
IDEA-NEW will continue to support the association as it provides training for miners, improved machinery for mining, power facilities, and advocacy at the district and provincial levels to build feeder roads that will facilitate talc transportation to city centers, boosting overall productivity in Nangarhar Province.
“Through the association, we’ll be able to fight against unfair legislations, unfair competition and capital for our members for mining and processing talc.”
—Muhammad Rahim Karimzai, Director, Amin Karimzai Limited (a talc trading company in Nangarhar)
IDEA-NEW is a five-year USAID initiative aimed at increasing jobs and sales in rural and marginalized communities across the North, East and West of Afghanistan. It is committed to working in collaboration with national, provincial, and district level government offices to increase agricultural production, rural enterprise and related infrastructural development, access to financial services, and overall value-chain development and integration for key regional enterprises.