Afghanistan to Face Severe Food Crisis

Despite being an agricultural country, Afghanistan has never been able to produce enough food for its people. This year’s lack of rainfall has worsened the country’s food security, forcing it to rely heavily on imports.

Not only that. As the drought also affected its neighboring countries, Afghanistan was forced to allocate more funds to meet its basic needs.

“Wheat and rice are imported from neighboring countries such as Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan and Pakistan. We need these commodities because Afghanistan is not self-sufficient,” said Afghanistan’s acting Agriculture Minister Abdul Rahman Rashed.

Afghans carry sacks of food distributed as a World Food Program (WFP) aid in Kandahar on October 19, 2021. (Photo: AFP/Javed Tanveer)

Afghans carry sacks of food distributed as a World Food Program (WFP) aid in Kandahar on October 19, 2021. (Photo: AFP/Javed Tanveer)

Farmers said the drought this year was more severe than in previous years and the wells they used to irrigate their farms had all dried up.

Qari Nasratullah, a farmer, expressed his concern.

“Five years ago, the situation was good because the water was flowing down the mountain. Now, the springs and wells have dried up,” he said.

In addition, the drought has pushed up the prices of basic commodities. The COVID-19 pandemic has also made matters worse as it prevents people from earning a living and disrupts the free flow of goods into the country.

“Domestic products are not sufficient. And because the commodity is imported, the price is high,” said Abdul Maroof, a food shop keeper.

Mohammad Masoor, a resident of Kabul, also complained about it.

“Borders are closed so imports and exports are not allowed. It is difficult for people to meet basic needs because most of them do not receive salaries. The Afghan currency has also lost its value,” he said.

The Taliban say foreign powers are also contributing to the current food crisis. Afghanistan’s Acting Agriculture Minister Abdul Rahman Rashed said: “Another reason for the food crisis is the obstruction of international aid and the freezing of Afghan assets by other countries.”

Forces of nature like drought are beyond the control of any government. But access to aid and funds can allow governments to import more food, stabilize commodity prices and provide for people’s basic needs. [ab/ka]

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