Afghanistan: The Same Tariff on Both Wheat and Flour
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Wheat is cultivated on over 2.7 million hectares in Afghanistan annually, yet the country depends on imports to meet domestic demand. The timely estimation of domestic Wheat production is critical to address potential food security issues. It has been identified as a priority by the Ministry of Agriculture Irrigation and Livestock.
The agricultural sector in Afghanistan supports the livelihoods of nearly three-quarters of the total population and contributes almost 28% to the GDP. Wheat is the most critical crop in Afghanistan, followed by rice, barley, and cotton. Most cereal crops are utilized for self-consumption. Wheat is prominent in all the major farming systems prevailing in the country and cultivated in every province. It dominates the total cultivated cereal area, estimated as 2.7 to 3 million hectares.
Despite being the dominant cereal crop in Afghanistan, Wheat production fails to fulfill the internal demand. About 1 million tons (equivalent to 25% of internal demand) of Wheat are imported annually to meet internal requirements. This makes Afghanistan one of the leading importers of Wheat in the world. Afghanistan imports Wheat mainly from Turkmenistan and Pakistan, two neighboring countries. Timely and effective management and estimating Wheat production in Afghanistan are therefore essential for food security.
A critical $150 million dollar lifeline for rural families in Afghanistan was announced by the World Bank in June 2022, part of an overall package of $195 million for critical livelihood and life-saving assistance, the UN agriculture agency FAO said. The FAO will be the sole implementing partner for the funding, centered around two main components.
Afghanistan’s Wheat Import
According to the Islamic Emirate’s agreement with Russia, the import of Wheat to Afghanistan is supposed to be done through the Department of Afghan Card of the Ministry of Finance. Sayed Mohammad Qasim Ibrahim, an official at the Ministry of Finance, said in November that importing Wheat from Russia would begin soon.
The Wheat import to Afghanistan is limited, except for a few countries. Citizens, however, say that the imported Wheat from Russia can reduce the price of imported Wheat in the domestic market to a significant extent and cause positive competition in exporting countries to Afghanistan to provide quality and cheap product.
In Late April, The Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Investment (ACCI) said Wheat imports have dropped by 20 percent since the political change in August 2021. The ACCI said the high cost of importing Wheat is the reason. “The importing of Wheat is less. The main reason is that the tariffs are the same on Wheat and flour,” said Khanjan Alokozai, a member of the ACCI.
Previously, Wheat — before being processed as flour–could be imported at a cheaper rate, according to the ACCI. The deputy spokesman for Islamic Emirate, Inamullah Samangani, said that the Third Deputy Prime Minister met with the Yerlan Baidaulet, Director-general of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation’s food security department.
Baidaulet “referred to the food crisis in Afghanistan and said that Kazakhstan is considering resuming Wheat exports to Afghanistan at its previous rate,” Samangani added. A food industry union noted that the import of Wheat would cause a reduction in the price of Wheat in Afghan markets. According to AgFlow data, Ukraine exported 30,000 tons of Wheat to Afghanistan in 2022.
Sayed Kamal Farid Safi, Head of the union said: If the Wheat is imported into Afghanistan as before, it will have a positive impact on the market. Afghanistan imports between 1.5 to 2 million tons of Wheat annually, and most Wheat is imported from Kazakhstan.
Other sources: BAKHTARNEWS
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