KABUL (Pajhwok): Some residents and traders in central capital Kabul complain about the skyrocketed onion prices, saying the vegetable exports to Pakistan must be stopped.
However, a spokesman for the Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MoCI) said cold storages are being constructed to prevent onion shortage in the upcoming years.
Mohammad Alam, a shopkeeper at the vegetables’ market, told Pajhwok Afghan News: “Onion prices have been witnessing an upward trend since last two months. We purchase seven kilograms of onion for 440 afs and sell it for 450 afs”.
The same amount of onions was sold for 200afs two months ago, he said, adding that if the government did not control the prices, people would not be able to purchase them. The price of onions is heading to 500 afs per seven kilos.
He linked the surge in onion prices to its exports to Pakistan. He said onion prices would come down if its exports to Pakistan were prevented.
Nazar Mohammad, a trader at the vegetables’ market, who has been in this business since last 30 years, said onion prices were increasing since last two months and currently seven kilos of onion was sold for 450 afs.
He said people’s economic situation had worsened and the government to prevent further hike in prices.
He said: “Seven kilograms of onion was sold for 220 afs two months ago, it is now sold for 450 afs and the reason is its exports to Pakistan”.
Eid Mohammad, a resident of Taimani area, said: “I came here to buy some onions and potatoes. I visited many shops and finally bought three and a half kilos of onions for 240 afs, while seven kilos was sold for 220 afs two months ago”.
Eid Mohammad also asked the government to control the prices.
But Bashir Ahmad, a resident of Kolola Pushta area, made a similar complaint. “I sell items on my cart, I cannot buy seven kilos of onions for 450afs, the government must control the prices”.
But officials of the Chamber of Commerce and the Vegetable Wholesale office said there were many reasons behind the hike in onion prices.
Mirwais Haji Zada, head of Vegetables Wholesales office, said the surge in the onion prices had many factors including its high demand in Pakistan.
He said another reason was that it was unknown how much onions were produced in Afghanistan. “Afghanistan is an agricultural country, but its products are not measured”, he said.
He said: “The onion price will remain high for next two months until farmers in Nangarhar province collect their onion harvest”. He asked the government to build cold storages for preservation of agriculture harvests.
But Abdul Salam Jawad Akhundzada, MoCI spokesman, told Pajhwok Afghan News: “The prices of onions are also high in our neighboring countries”.
Afghanistan imports such items from Iran, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan, but the process of imports has slowed down due to cold winter, Akhundzada said.
“Both of the government and the private sector are working to construct cold storages in the country to prevent such shortages of vegetables in the future.” he added.