CHANDIGARH: With the Taliban seizing control in Afghanistan, the import of dry fruits, onions, and apples has stopped from the war-ravaged country to India via the integrated check post (ICP) at the Attrai border. Thus, the prices of dry fruits have surged.
Talking to The New Indian Express, Anil Mehra, president of the Federation of Karyana and Dry Fruit Association said, "The dry fruit consignments from Afghanistan are not coming to India as of now as Taliban has taken control of Torkham and Chaman borders. Every year, dry fruit worth Rs 2,000 crore was imported by India from Afghanistan. About 80% of it is bought by Indian traders. We knew that the Taliban have promised to not disrupt any trade activities on transit routes. The situation will be clear in the next 15 days."
"Earlier, about 35 trucks used to come to the Wagah-Attari border every day from Afghanistan via Pakistan. The dry fruits in each truck would cost between Rs 40 lakh to Rs 60 lakh. Afghan almonds have now become expensive. Their prices have increased from Rs 850 to Rs 1,000 per kg, also prices of pista and fig have also gone up," he says.
Mehra says, "The old crop of almonds has hardly sold out and the new crop has arrived in the market. We expect a rise in prices as already it is increased by Rs 150 per kg. Once the trade resumes then only we will know about the actual price of new supply."
Another trader said that as the festive season is on its way, they are hoping that the situation will improve. "As dry fruits are perishable, there have been so far no arrangements for importing dry fruits via sea or air," he added.
Sources in the customs department said that it takes around a week for a truck to reach the ICP at Attari from Afghanistan. A few trucks came a couple of days ago but the number was very less. "There could be some problem as far as the documentation is concerned as the trucks carrying the valid papers from erstwhile Afghanistan government may not be recognised by the Taliban," said an official.
The trade at the ICP has been diminishing gradually since the Pulwama terror attack of 2019. Before the incident, the trade was worth Rs 2,767 crore which dipped to Rs 2,500 crore in 2020-21. India stopped trade with Pakistan after it abrogated Article 370 in August 2019.