Rug weavers from Afghanistan, a 15 member delegation met with with representatives from Amer Rugs and its parent company, Saraswati Global Private, Ltd., in May during a study tour to find out the viability of passing on Indian rug weaving techniques into the existing Afghan weaving framework.
This meeting was facilitated by Handmade rug producer Amer Rugs and the U.S. Department of Commerce's Afghanistan Investment and Reconstruction Task Force. The meeting took place as part of the AIRTF to boost rug production in Afghanistan, especially since rug production in that country is on an downward trend, it has seen a decline of nearly 80% since the U.S. military drawdown in 2007.
Amer Rugs President Tanuj Gupta Gupta, who hosted the delegation at Saraswati's home offices in Jaipur, Rob Leahy, subject matter expert for the U.S. Department of Commerce, and himself a rug retailer was among the attendees during the three-day tour of Saraswati's facilities.
Leahy has also been instrumental in advocating for not only this meeting, but for assisting the Afghan people in reconstructing and growing their economy through the woven art. Leahy has also worked with leaders in the Afghan weaving community to establish the Afghan Carpet Center of Excellence (ACCOE).
Both Gupta and Leahy share a similar vision in educating, assisting, and empowering the Afghan weaving community as a path to improving its faltering national economy.
The delegation visited every major facility within Saraswati's production process. Of note to the delegation was Saraswati's dyeing facility, of which they had never seen something on that scale. However, the delegation was most impressed with Saraswati's finishing facilities, especially given that Afghanistan has little effective domestic shearing, washing, and rug finishing. 90% of Afghan rugs are currently sent to Pakistan or Turkey for finishing, according to Leahy.
The knowledge that Afghan delegation has acquired could be put to immediate use once back in their home country according to Gupta. Both Gupta and Leahy considered this first step in collaboration a success and discussions were already in the works for another meeting in the near future.
Saraswati Exports possesses state-of-the-art automated wool and silk dyeing and drying machinery; including extensive labs and test equipment to monitor grades of wool and quality, along with facilities and equipment for both vegetable and chrome dyeing. Not to mention encompassing one of Indiaâ€™s largest design and development departments.
They export on a daily basis to the USA, Canada, Germany, Spain, Greece, United Kingdom, Turkey, Australia, Singapore, and South Africa supplying some of the most well known carpet wholesalers in the world.
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