What is state failure? See my conceptualisation of state failure on the right flank below.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Prospects for exporting Baghlani Gouda

Dion Nissenbaum, McClatchy's correspondent, writes about Baghlan's cheese factory, delicious products of which he discovered in Kabul, where they are also marketed. Three varieties of (originally Dutch) Gouda are on offer. More than three decades ago, when it was started, the factory was a Danish- or Swiss-initiated FAO project; it came to be destroyed during the last years of the jihad of the 1980s (in either 1987 or 1988). Then it was restarted at local request by the Dutch PRT that worked in Baghlan province up till 2006, and it is nowadays operating with support from the Hungarian PRT - for example, experts from the Hungarian Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) provide assistance with improving the factory's livestock, and also in training local experts. MARD also donated pieces of equipment and instruments.
What caugth my interest now is this hint in Nissenbaum's post regarding why it may be difficult to export Afghanistan's cheese:
"They tried once to air ship cheese to India, but Afghan Customs held it several days, to make sure it wasn’t a concealed shipment of drugs, the Indians held it as well, and the cheese spoiled."
That's bad news. Yet another way the illicit economy hurts the licit economy, after the latter's weakness (ruined state) has given life to the former in the first place. I am wondering (by default) if there might be a solution regarding such issues of trust. And how third parties could help with this. The problem, obviously, is that any third party one can think of could, at least theoretically, also be corrupted, and thus trust would either not be there (towards the 3rd party) or it would not be risked (by the 3rd party). It is hard to say how to square the circle. Still, if medical opium production can work in India, one could perhaps work out a system for this as well.

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