MAZAR-I-SHARIF (Pajhwok): The Chamber of Commerce of northern Balkh province on Tuesday said Kazakhstan has stopped exporting flour to Afghanistan.
Pajhwok Afghan News obtained a copy of a letter, in which Kazakhstan government orders closure of its borders with Afghanistan and bans exports of some of products to Afghanistan.
Balkh Chamber of Commerce head, Arash Younisi, told Pajhwok that border closure and stoppage of imports from Kazakhstan was a matter of concern.
He said that concerns about coronavirus and banning of flour exports by Kazakhstan to Afghanistan had created problems for Afghans.
“Most of flour we need is imported from Kazakhstan, now they have stopped exporting the product which would not be without a risk for Afghanistan,” he said.
“Many of our traders have purchased flour in Kazakhstan which should be transferred to Afghanistan, but unfortunately it is stuck in Afghanistan as well as Afghan traders’ capital,” he said.
Younisi said there was enough flour and wheat in Afghanistan but stoppage of imports from Kazakhstan could create problems in the long run. He asked the government to take action for finding a solution to the problem.
Meanwhile, a number of four importers from Kazakhstan said that if the neighbouring country continued blocking flour to Afghanistan, it would face Afghans with scarcity.
Haji Hafizullah, head of Khan Importing Company, told Pajhwok that they imported 100 trucks of flour on average from Kazakhstan each month.
He said they had currently purchased flour worth $2.5 million from Kazakhstan, but the commodity was not allowed to Afghanistan.
There are also other companies who have purchased flour worth millions of US dollars from Kazakhstan, but they are also unable to bring it to Afghanistan, he said.
Hafizullah said half of the flour they had loaded to trucks in Kazakhstan would be damaged in the next 10 days if the border closure continued.
Nearly 70 percent of Afghanistan flour need is fulfilled form Kazakhstan and Afghans would face a shortage of flour if its imports not resumed, he added.
Balkh local administration said they were unaware Kazakhstan had stopped its flour exports to Afghanistan.
Governor’s spokesman, Munir Farhad, said it was a serious issue and the central government had the authority to talk about it.