The state-run Bost Enterprise, a cotton ginning factory, has officially reopened after seven years.
According to a statement from Helman Governor’s office, farmer’s cotton products are processed into pure cotton, oil, soap, fennel, and cotton waste.
The statement further adds that 4,000 tons of cotton will be purchased for processing in this factory, of which 800 tons have been completed so far.
“The opening of this factory will create job opportunities to many farmers, and we are hoping this factory will serve as an alternative to opium production in the province,” said Helmand Governor Mohammad Yasin at the opening ceremony on Monday.
Bost Enterprise was first established more than 50 years ago during the reign of Mohammad Zahir Shah, the last king of Afghanistan. Between the mid 1960s to the late 1980s, the plant processed around 32,000 tons of cotton a year and produced close to 11 tons of cooking oil and thousands of bars of laundry soap. The Enterprise was shut down 11 years ago due to lack of sufficient budget. It resumed operations for a brief period but closed back again soon.
Helmand is one of the major cotton production centers in the country with over 15,000 hectares of cotton fields. At the same time the province is also the hub of Afghan opium production.