Bentonite clay loses market

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With the shampoos and conditioners of foreign brands flooding the market, the use of bentonite clay as an effective and afforable hair substance has diminished of late
 
The bentonite clay, locally called gal-i-sarshoi, is an impure mud available in supplement form. It is odourless, non-greasy and non-staining. Long time back, Afghans used it to wash and clean their hair, but over the years, with branded shampoos and conditioners bombarding the market, the use of clay has diminished significantly.

Bentonite has long been used to rid the body of toxins and to provide it with healthy nutrients. The mines from which the mud is extracted are situated in the Surkhab area of central Logar province, which is then sent to Kabul and other provinces.

Nasrin, a resident of Mirwais Maidan area in Kabul, says earlier most of the people would use the substance in washing their heads, but it has gradually lost the market with the import of numerous branded shampoos.

“Quite frankly, bentonite clay is matchless in preventing hair fall, while these shampoos lead to hair fall. But since it takes a lot more time to prepare it for use, most of the people use shampoos, because it has become fashionable with youth,” says Nasrin.

Malang, a resident of Chahardeh area in Kabul, has just bought three kilograms of bentonite. “I and my family have been using it since a long time, as it makes hair strong and keeps it clean and shiny.”
Zaman, a trader from Mirwais Maidan, says import of the different kinds of shampoos has dissuaded people from using bentonite clay. “People are not fully aware of its benefits. It is far better than using low quality shampoos that make you bald and ugly over a period of time,” says Zaman.

Haji Mohammad Gul, a resident of Mosai district of Kabul, runs a wholesale business of bentonite since last 50 years. He has signed an agreement with mining ministry to extract 1,000 tons of bentonite from Logar each year and pays 3.59 USD (200,000 Afs) in tax to the ministry. However, his business has taken a dip with shampoos and other hair washing products flooding the market, but he refuses to give up.

“During Mohammad Daud Khan’s presidency, we used to sell about 10 tons of bentonite each day, but now it cannot be sold even in a month,” he rues. The elderly man of 60 is the only person running the business of bentonite and earlier used to supply it to Pakistan, United States, United Kingdom and some other countries.

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The Zariza is designed to inform, educate, and engage young generation inside Afghanistan. The Zariza’s goal is to empower Afghans to create better future through knowledge and actionable, positive and uplifting reporting and news. The Afghan Zariza was founded based on those needs and goals, and will fill this gap....

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