Food Lab Helps Afghan Importers

A technician hard at work testing food samples
A technician hard at work testing food samples
The high-tech food laboratory recently established in Jalalabad with USAID support is expected to boost cross-border trade
The new high-tech food laboratory recently established in Jalalabad  is a boon to traders importing food items through the Torkham border crossing. USAID-funded lab provides test results within 24 hours, thus helping Afghan traders and producers run their businesses more efficiently.
The laboratory, which is only the second of its kind in Afghanistan, is equipped with modern machines and cutting-edge technology. In the very first month of operation, the laboratory earned enough to pay its way, making it self-sustaining from the start.
Afghan law requires that all food must pass thorough checks before it can be sold on the local market.
Before this lab was open, importers had to take food samples to Kabul for analysis and typically, it could take anywhere from a week to a month to get clearance. This inevitably had a knock-on effect on prices because traders constantly struggled with the risk of food spoilage and the high costs of transportation.
Haji Sharif, a well-known food importer in the eastern part of Afghanistan, says: “We are very happy with this lab. Not only does it assist the eastern region traders but facilitates the businessmen of all Afghanistan, reducing load on the lab in Kabul. It is a great success for the business in Afghanistan. We could not get the test of our products on time and we had to spend more to get our work done, but now all those problems have been solved.”

Last updated: January 20, 2015

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