Mustafa Sadiq knows something about perseverance. You have to when you’re an entrepreneur in Afghanistan.
Sadiq is the 47-year-old owner of Kabul-based Omaid Bahar factory, which sells fruit juice concentrate and fresh produce to the health-conscious in Europe, Asia and the Middle East. At the heart of his business are Afghanistan’s homegrown pomegranates, whose dark red seeds are prized by many for their health benefits.
As noted by this Reuters article, the company is a huge gamble for Sadiq. He has had to overcome a myriad of problems, including Taliban insurgents blocking access to farms, Stone Age agricultural techniques and potholed supply routes riddled with landmines.
Yet Sadiq isn’t deterred. To the contrary, he has ambitious plans to expand his two-year-old, $30 million factory into a $100 million “fruit behemoth.” He expects to deliver new product lines, including yogurt and fruit-flavored milk, and is close to a deal in the United States to sell concentrate in smaller packets.
Many local entrepreneurs are thinking about exiting the country, worried about what will happen when NATO combat troops leave in 2014. Where others fret about instability, Sadiq sees opportunity.
“I myself expect these troubles, these uncertainties (will last) for the next 50 years and for the next generation to come,” he tells Reuters. “But it is our country, we have to build it, we have to live here. And only then we can bring peace.”