The Alti Bolaq Carpet Company - Classic Turkmen Carpets: fair prices on fair trade principles
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About the Company

Detail from Jerhogi design carpetAlti Bolaq is one of the Turkmen villages in northern Afghanistan outside Andkhoy in Faryab Province close to the Turkmenistan border. It has a long established reputation for the production of high quality hand woven tufted carpets produced by Turkmen women.

The Alti Bolaq Carpet Company was established in 2003 by four partners – Hashim Ismati and Yar Mohammad from Andkhoy and with long experience of the carpet trade, Moharam Ali from Bangladesh who had been working on micro-credit systems for carpet weavers since 1995 and Adam Pain who had been undertaking research on carpet markets in Afghanistan. The company is fully registered with Company House in the UK. All four partners have contributed to the seed capital.

Substantial changes are taking place in the structure of the carpet market in Andkhoy, with the nature of the product and price being increasingly affected by outside forces. Returns to carpet producers, particularly with respect to the proportion of the value of the final sale price that they receive are decreasing. Their market power is declining and the opportunities for them to develop and market their own artisanal skills are under threat. Alti Bolaq Carpets Limited was established to help provide better returns to the producers under principles of fair trade, to help build producer power in the market and so give them the opportunity to develop their skills and craft.

Objectives

The Alti Bolaq carpet Company has four objectives:

  • To trade as a profitable enterprise in which all parties, shareholders and producers proportionally share both the risk and profit.
  • To build and develop an overseas market for quality traditional Andkhoy carpets starting from the United Kingdom.
  • To promote and develop traditional artisanal carpet production for the benefit of both producers and their communities.
  • To operate on the principles of 'fair trade' whereby producers will receive a fair share of the final market price and accumulate capital to support producers. This may include giving them a capital stake in the company in due course.

Methods of Working

Negotiations at Andkhoy carpet marketThe company has the long term objective of achieving ‘Fair Trade' status and registration. It is recognized that this will take time to build. For the present it buys or commissions carpets from the Andkhoy region paying the market price to producers. Ten per cent of the final sale price in the UK is being invested in a revolving credit fund that is being used to commission carpets and will be a source of fair credit to producers.

For the immediate future the company aims to trade three to four consignments of carpets per year and about 120 – 150 carpets a year with an emphasis on quality and principles of operation rather than volume or turnover. We would like to gradually grow the company based on sales and reinvestment but for the non-Afghan partners it will remain primarily an interest and enthusiasm rather than an income source.

 


Copyright © 2006 - Alti Bolaq Carpets Limited
PO Box 126, Bradenham, Thetford Norfolk IP25 7WY - abcarpets@btinternet.com