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June 05, 2008

Struggles of Honest Aromatic Crops Businessmen in Afghanistan

image Yesterday's 'Morning Edition' on NPR featured an heroic effort in the hills of Afghanistan by Shafiq Azizi and his business partners to grow and extract roses and other aromatics as an alternative for the poppy growers who trade in the world-wide heroin industry.  Hoping to set an example, they have expended frustrated efforts and a considerable sum of invested money.  Sounds idyllic, however, Shafiq  and Barnett Rubin (an Afghanistan expert and owner of the company that supports Azizi's efforts) are finding the prospect of legal business in Afghanistan is not so attractive to those already engaged in growing poppies.  Also, the corrupt Afghanistan government is hindering any progress or growth of the rose production for perfumery by soliciting bribes and unduly hindering their operations.  An initial $29,000 investment funded the first rose fields and the building of a commercial still, but major setbacks have the investors backing out.  Hopefully, local entrepreneur Abdullah Arsallah's determination to break the cycle of the drug business, and the willingness of a farmer in a nearby village, Haji Ibrahim, will revive the effort. You can read this complete report by Ivan Watson and view video.  We will attempt to keep an eye on this situation and report further progress.       

Posted by Marcia on June 5, 2008 in Ecological/Cultural Sustainability, Essential Oils/Plant Extractions, Human Rights, Oil Crops, Perfumery, Trade Issues | Permalink

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