Rising tomato, onion prices worry Kabul residents

KABUL (Pajhwok): Onion, tomato and potato prices saw a two-fold increase on Thursday in Kabul, compared to their rates a month ago.

Shopkeepers say recent flash floods in Afghanistan and Pakistan and the export of the vegetables from to Pakistan caused the hike in their prices.

Vendors in the Kabul vegetable market confirm the price of per seven kilograms of tomatoes shot up from 100 afs to 350 afs. The same quantity of onions now costs 120 afs, compared to 200 afs a month ago.

By the same token, the value of per seven kilograms of potatoes has surged from 120 afs to 180 afs, causing concerns among Kabul inhabitants..

According to Pajhwok Afghan News reports, prices of onions, potatoes and tomatoes have fallen in Pakistan. One month earlier, a kilogram of tomatoes accounted for Rs250 and onion for Rs220.

But currently, one kilogram of tomatoes costs Rs200 and the same quantity of onions Rs190 in the neighbouring country, which has abolished taxes on the import of these items.

Public complaints

Ahmad Shah, a resident of the Macro Ryan neighbourhood of Kabul, said: “The onion and tomato season is still on, but their prices have skyrocketed. We don’t know what is happening.”

He demanded the control of vegetable prices. Exports of the commodities should be curtailed if they had forced the hike in prices at home, he suggested.

Nazeefa Ibrahimi, hailing from Qala-i-Zaman Khan area, complained about the increasing prices of tomatoes, potatoes and onions.

“These items are still harvested; their season is not over yet. But the price of per seven kilograms of tomatoes has jumped to 400 afs. Onion and potato prices are also on the rise,” she noted

Ahmad Muheeb, a greengrocer in Kabul’s International Vegetable Market, confirmed: “Over the past three weeks, prices of onions, potatoes and tomatoes have been going up. The reason is the export of these items to Pakistan.”

A month earlier, he recalled, the price of per seven kilograms of tomatoes was 100 afs, compared to 300 afs at the moment.

Khan Jan Alkozai, deputy head of the Chamber of Commerce and Investment, said: “The main reason for the surge in prices of these items is flooding that wreaked havoc on agriculture land and crops.”

He added the recent floods had not only affected Afghanistan, but it also Pakistan. The floods washed away crops there and caused massive losses.

Referring to the link between exports and the increase in tomato and onion rates, he said: “In the past, up to 180 containers of tomatoes were exported to Pakistan. But today, only eight truckloads of tomatoes enter Pakistan and it is because of floods that hit crops here.”

He believed a halt to the export of vegetables was no solution, as local farmers would suffer losses. To bring down prices, he proposed, other solutions needed to be explored.


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