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Asharq Al-Awsat
Asharq Al-Awsat
Sanaa - Asharq Al-Awsat

Yemen: Houthis Hike Prices of Vegetables, Fruits

Yemenis shopping in a food store in Sanaa (Reuters)

Yemenis in the capital Sanaa and other cities under Houthi control, condemned the militias for imposing high royalties and illegal levies, hiking the prices of fruits and vegetables.

Residents affirmed that prices for many food commodities continued to rise, accusing the militias of imposing more tariffs in the name of taxes, zakat, and support for sectarian events.

Sanaa residents told Asharq Al-Awsat that there were no justifications for the continued high prices of vegetables, fruits, and other foods, lamenting the inaction of control bodies and their failure to react against those who manipulate people's resources.

Hamdi A., a daily wage worker in Sanaa, told Asharq Al-Awsat that he can no longer provide the minimum requirements for his family.

Sources working in the agricultural sector under Houthi control accused the coup leaders of ignoring the repeated price hikes which burdened the public and exceeded their purchasing power.

It argued that the so-called Houthi Marketing and Trade Department, tasked with oversight, only publishes daily price lists that do not match the market prices.

Meanwhile, a recent international report indicated that millions of Yemeni families face gaps in food consumption due to the high prices of food materials and essential commodities. It warned that Yemenis are "one step away from famine."

The Famine Early Warning System Network (FEWS) report predicted that a price increase in food and fuel would affect poor Yemeni families in the coming months.

Most of the population lives in a state of food insecurity amid calls to protect farmers from the arbitrary Houthi measures. They demand urgent assistance and support.

Over the past eight years, the group banned the cultivation of various crops, allocating every effort to support and encourage the cultivation of the "qat" plant, which generates vast sums of money for the group.

According to previous local reports, the agricultural sector was greatly affected by the Houthi war, as the total cultivated area for 2018 amounted to about 1.08 million hectares, down from more than 118 thousand hectares from the 2005 levels.

Reports estimated the losses of the agricultural sector as a result of the coup at billions of dollars.

During the past years of the coup, the agricultural sector, like other sectors, saw a significant decline. The group's destructive policies wiped out a third of the farm production in areas under its control.

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