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QUARTERLY REPORT – OCTOBER THROUGH DECEMBER 2007 - page 18 / 31

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The Nangarhar Cotton Sellers Association (NCSA) requested funding of $15,800 to purchase cotton pressing (bailing) and cotton rag recycling equipment as part of a project designed to enable the cotton gin operators to further develop the market for ginned cotton. The facility is owned by the NCSA. Currently the refined cotton is stuffed into plastic-web bags which are cumbersome and bulky resulting in very high shipping costs which prohibits cotton processors from participation in the premium cotton sales market. The pressing facility has a target production level of 720 MT per month, but the overall monthly production will vary due to the seasonal availability of cotton. The NCSA management is also planning to install a rag cotton machine that produce rag cotton from the pieces of cloth which will be collected from the local tailors and embroidery shops on a regular basis. If demand exceeds that forecast, the NCSA will import pieces of cloth from other locations as well. Currently the rag cotton is purchased from Pakistan and is used in lower grade cotton products. The beneficiaries of the project are 10,000 cotton farmers, 350 gin owners, and 25 direct employees with many indirect employees operating in the value chain. The equipment has been ordered. We expect the company to start operations in January/February 2008.

The National Traders Agents Association (NTAA) has over 200 members of importers and exporters. The association coordinates closely with custom house officials to expedite the processing of import/export documentation and payment of custom taxes. In May 2007, ASMED sponsored a roundtable discussion to identify issues and opportunities to support traders. As a result, ASMED funded the creation of a training and meeting center for NTAA where members can hold regular meetings to discuss current trade and border issues. The project will also provide computers so that members can receive business training, export/import technical training and improve efficiency in managing their businesses. The facility is under construction and will be competed in February/March 2008.

FIELD ACTIVITIES – WEST

Fazli Carpet Market - Office set up, registration and association training have been completed.

ZandaJan Women’s Association - Office set up, registration and association training have been completed.

Turkmen Carpet Association - $10,000 seed grant approved for registration, office set up and training.

FIELD ACTIVITIES – NORTH

To strengthen the capacity of the Badakhshan Chamber of Commerce (CoC) to facilitate regional business development, eight directors completed an exposure visit to functioning ‘model’ CoCs in Peshawar, Islamabad and Gilgit, Pakistan. This

ASMED QUARTERLY REPORT

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