Fruit, vegetable dealers may lose millions
The vehicles are denied entry into the capital, where extraordinary measures have been put in place to ensure foolproof security for a consultative Loya Jirga on the security pact with the US.
Amir Jan Haideri, the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Importers Association president, told Pajhwok Afghan News thousands of vehicles carrying the perishable food items had been stuck at Kabul gates.
The fruits and vegetables would decay if the vehicles were not allowed entry into the city tonight, he believed, fearing traders would suffer losses to the tune of $3 million.
“Right now 20 of my trucks loaded with cucumber I purchased in Farah province are stranded in the Arghandi Square area west of Kabul. If they are not let into the city, the vegetable would go rotten. And ditto for the 113 truckloads of pomegranates coming from Kandahar province,” he explained.
While urging the authorities to let the trucks enter Kabul, Haideri claimed fruit and vegetable rates had already witnessed a four-fold increase in the city in recent days. If the situation persisted, he warned, prices would further rise to the detriment of consumers.
Ghulam Sakhi, in charge of the Shoaib Shakib Company, also complained the six truckloads of banana he had imported from Pakistan had been stuck in the Sang Nawishta area locality southeast of Kabul. He estimated the price of each truckload of banana at 500,000 afghanis (about $8,640).
He accused the security personnel of violating merchandise transportation agreements, saying they demanded their share in the fruit and vegetables. “We assure the security organs that the vehicles carrying our stuff pose no threat.”
On the other hand, the Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Industries (ACCI) said it had shared the problem with the government, which refused entry to the vehicles for security reasons.
ACCI deputy head Khan Jan Alokozai confirmed up to 6,000 fruit and vegetable-laden trucks had been stuck outside the capital. He urged security organs to let the vehicles enter the city at night.
He added they had some stuff in the trucks was perishable and drivers demanded 2,000 afghanis in extra fare each day, causing losses worth millions of dollars to traders.
Warning that prices of essential items would shoot up, Alokozai asked security organs to review their decision and let the vehicles move into the city.
But the Ministry of Interior (MoI) said it permitted trucks to enter the city at night. MoI deputy spokesman Najib Danish said the trucks were allowed entry after 10pm, but they could not unload anything near the Loya Jirga venue.
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