Woodworkers Carve Out Greater Profits in Afghanistan

Mansoor Armaghan working on pieces for a decorative screen he has designed in his Kabul woodworking shop.
Mansoor Armaghan works on pieces for a decorative screen he designed in his Kabul woodworking shop.
USAID
Family business speeds production to keep pace with orders
“Our service to the country will be to convey the craft and profession to other Afghans.”

March 2017—The craftsmanship of Mansoor Armaghan’s woodworking has long been sought after in Afghanistan’s capital, but working each project by hand meant that the family-owned company was limited in the number of pieces they could produce. In order to maintain the same quality that they were known for and increase their production to provide work for local craftsmen, Mansoor knew that he would need to purchase new equipment.

“We had bought a generator, for which we had to borrow money from different people because we did not have it. I borrowed money from my brothers and father-in-law, and sold my wife’s gold jewelry,” Mansoor said from the company’s Kabul workshop.

With assistance from USAID’s Assistance in Building Afghanistan by Developing Enterprises (ABADE) program in 2016, Mansoor received a new miter saw, table saw, hand drill, jigsaw and a number of finishing tools.

“The new equipment has enhanced both the quality and speed of our work,” Mansoor said. “For example, we could produce four items in a month in the past, but now we produce 20 pieces, so there is a lot of difference in terms of productivity.”

The increase in orders for decorative screens and wooden trays allowed the company to expand quickly, hiring five new woodworkers, including Mansoor’s brother, 32-year-old Masoud. “I was jobless and now I am earning and I can learn a lot from my work,” Masoud said, smiling proudly in the family’s woodworking shop.

Mansoor considers his work a part of rebuilding the country he loves: “Our service to the country will be to convey the craft and profession [of woodworking] to other Afghans. If we have peace, everything is possible.”

Since 2012, ABADE has formed successful investment partnerships with almost 300 businesses across Afghanistan, paving the way for the creation of more than 9,000 jobs and promoting the growth of small and medium enterprises in the country.

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Last updated: March 13, 2017

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