Baghlan sugar factory rehabilitated and begins sugar production

After 15 year of non-operation, the New Baghlan Sugar Company (NBSC), recommenced sugar production on Wednesday 29 November 2006. This factory was re-established by contribution of the Government of Afghanistan, two German stakeholders and four national stakeholders.
The role of FAO was essential to assistant farmers to provide high quality beet for the factory. FAO support, financed by the Government of Germany provided an international sugar beet expert; one national agricultural management officer; other staff; equipment, including motorbikes, vehicles and agricultural machines; and financial support for the sugar beet seed and chemicals needed for 2,500 hectares of land.

Currently 120 people are working in the factory with a capacity of processing 600-800 tonnes of sugar beet in a day. 20 members of the local youth population in the area and from the different tribes have been selected to be trained in various sections in the factory. These young people will receive technical training and will work as technical employees of factory in the future.

In the agriculture sector, about 210 farmers cultivated sugar beet. In terms of harvest collection and transportation of sugar been to the factory, more then 1,000 people were employed. Tractors and other transportation vehicles were hired for transporting of sugar beet and provided an additional boost to the local economy.

From the economical, political and social point of view, and for security and peace in Afghanistan, the rehabilitation project of Baghlan Sugar factory and therefore the extension of sugar beet cultivation in Baghlan area as raw materials for the factory is vital project in the country.

One of the most important aspects of this project is that the production of sugar is the first step toward self-sufficiency in Afghanistan. Afghanistan in one year needs 830,000 tones of sugar which it currently imports from out side of the country in foreign currency.

Although this factory covers only 1.3% of the Afghanistan need, the political importance of the project is very high. As sugar been produced for the first time in Afghanistan after long years of war, if a great honour for Afghan nation.

The future plan of the factory is to expend the production of the sugar gradually and make the country self-sufficient on its own production in sugar.

At the moment about 3,400 tons sugar beet have been transferred to the factory to produce 400 tonnes of sugar. To produce one tonne of sugar, 8.3 to 10 tonnes of sugar beet is required.

Construction of the Baghlan sugar factory began in 1938. Following a two-year building period the factory commenced production in 1940. Private local investors financed the project. Technical support was provided at the beginning by a German company and later on by British and Czech companies.

Before choosing the Baghlan location as the site of the factory, a feasibility study was carried out. The study demonstrated that the most important resources required for operating the sugar factory, e.g. suitable agricultural land, water, coal and lime were available in plentiful supply in Baghlan and therefore the decision to invest was made in favour of this area.

The highest sugar beet yields per ha were achieved in the years 1977 and 1978 prior to the communist period and the Russian invasion. Beet yield in 1977 was 300% higher than in the first year of production.

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