The increasing level of flour imports from central Asian countries to Afghanistan has led to the closure of hundreds of factories in Pakistan.
Officials of the joint Afghanistan-Pakistan chamber of commerce and industries on Wednesday announced that Afghanistan has started to import the majority of its flour from Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan. This has led to a 60 percent reduction in flour imports from Pakistan.
“The quality of our own flour is also good now, mills are working in Mazar and Pul-e-Khumri and people are satisfied with Kazakh flour,” an Afghan shopkeeper in Kabul said.
“Pakistani flour is not coming these days as people prefer Kazakh flour,” another shopkeeper said.
“We have not inked a formal agreement with Pakistan about food stuffs and flour imports. Businessmen import flour according to needs in the market,” said Ahmadullah Afghan, head of Afghanistan-Pakistan Joint Chamber of Commerce and Industries.
Better wheat crops in Afghanistan and the activation of several factories inside the country, combined with the rise in imports of flour from central Asian countries, has decreased Afghanistan’s dependency to Pakistani flour.
Over recent years Afghanistan has imported more than one million tons of flour and wheat from Pakistan. However, in recent months Afghan businessmen are importing the product from central Asian countries in a bid to decrease Afghanistan’s dependency on Pakistan.