Afghan government to buy US$50 million (31.4 million) food relief as prices skyrocket
By RAHIM FAIEZ,Associated Press Writer
Wednesday, April 23
KABUL, Afghanistan – Afghanistan has allocated US$50 million (�31.4 million) to buy food from neighboring countries, an official said Tuesday, amid skyrocketing prices of food staples like wheat.
Panicked Afghans have rushed to shops in recent days to purchase rice, flour and cooking oil. In one shop in Kabul, 1 kilogram (2.2 pounds) of flour was US$1 (�0.63) on Tuesday, up from 80 U.S. cents (�0.50) on Sunday.
The U.N. World Food Program says the cost of a kilogram of wheat in Afghanistan has nearly doubled from 32 U.S. cents (�0.20) last year to 60 U.S. cents (�0.38) in March.
“Food prices have increased around the world, and that has caused an increase in food prices in Afghanistan,” government spokesman Humayun Hamidzada said Tuesday.
Hamidzada said the Commerce Ministry has earmarked US$50 million (�31.4 million) for the immediate purchase of food from neighboring countries, including Pakistan and Kazakhstan.
Surging food prices, stoked by rising fuel costs that have increased production and transport costs, have triggered protests around the world in recent weeks. Riots have erupted over food shortages in the Caribbean and Africa and hunger is approaching crisis stage in parts of Asia.