Dry fruit supplies in India have been hit badly after the Taliban halted trade after taking power in the country last week.
India imported 85% of dry fruits from Afghanistan in the last financial year.
Imports worth $550 million from that country largely included apples and dry fruits in 2020-21.
"As of now, the Taliban have stopped movement of cargo to Pakistan, so virtually imports have been stopped," said Federation of Indian Export Organisation director-general Ajay Sahai.
Rajinder Shah, a dry fruits trader in Mumbai, said since the Taliban took over, not even one truck of dry fruits arrived at the Wagah border (Amritsar) via Pakistan. Dry fruits to India from Afghanistan are also imported via Iran's Chabahar.
Shah said nearly 200 trucks that were to arrive have been halted and caused a loss of lakhs of rupees to importers.
The dry fruit rates have been fluctuating since the Taliban began closing in on Kabul. Traders said there has been an increase of ₹200 per kilogram of almonds, figs, apricots, and raisins. Pistachio prices have risen by ₹250 per kilogram.
"Not just supply but sentiments decide the prices too," said another importer Sunil Chabbria. He added it is too premature to discuss how the situation will unfold. "Our suppliers in Afghanistan are saying that hopefully everything will be normally exported soon."
Vijay Kumar Bhuta, president, Dry Fruit Traders Association, Mumbai, said the closure of banks in Afghanistan has also added to their woes. He added Afghan exporters say the stocks are available in abundance, but they are waiting for the deadlock to end. "(Limited) stocks are available in India right now... By September beginning, new stocks arrive. With this thought, everyone was trying to self-off their old stock to buy the new one."
Bhuta said normally in winter dry fruits sales increase and if the ban stays, the loss will be enormous for India as well as Afghanistan. "It is only India which imports so much dry fruits from them." Bhuta said Mumbai alone has 40 big companies importing dry fruits from Afghanistan. He added almost 38,000 metric tonnes of dry fruits are imported annually from Afghanistan worst almost $650 million.
Another Mumbai importer, who identified himself as Raj, said Afghan suppliers have told them the Taliban have assured them that there would be "no disturbance" to trade. "No one wants to transport cargo through roads governed by them (Taliban) right now..." Raj added like many traders he has paid advance money to suppliers in Afghanistan.
Jitender Ashar, a trader, said there has been a 15% increase in dry fruit prices ahead of major festivals such as Diwali when their sales go up.
Shah said the current stock is not going last beyond 15 days. "There might even be an increase of 40% (in prices) and this too would not come down immediately even if the trade is restored. It is a journey of 8 to 10 days from here to Afghanistan and even after trade revival, it will take time to replenish the stocks."
Shah said they do not know whatever the export document the Taliban will issue will be accepted here or not. He added over 30,000 trucks of dry fruits come to India each year. "Besides this, fresh fruits like pomegranate, cherry also come in around 20,000 trucks. This too is halted," he said. "Much of this includes perishable items."