Photo: IFRC

Unemployment and food shortages continue to be primary concerns in Afghanistan, WFP says

Unemployment and food shortages continue to be the primary concerns for the people of Afghanistan, says World Food Program (WFP).

In its report “Afghanistan’s Food Security Update” in the first three months of 2023, WFP stated that more than half of households (52 percent) in Afghanistan are worried about losing their job opportunities followed by food shortage (22 percent).

The report indicates that in April 2023, approximately 51.9 percent of households expressed concerns about potential job loss, while 21.8 percent expressed worries regarding food shortages.

WFP stated in the report that the limited job opportunities and decrease in income exacerbate households’ poorer access to food and purchasing power, especially those already living below the poverty line.

Regarding the negative impact of the Taliban’s ban on women’s work, approximately two-thirds (61%) of respondents have said that they experienced a significant negative impact or even lost their primary source of income.

“A significant proportion of households (79 percent) demonstrated awareness of the restrictions on female workers,” parts of the report reads.

Based on the report, the inflation rate for food in Afghanistan has declined from 26% in June 2022 to 3.2% in January 2023. The declining trend in global food prices has contributed to easing the inflationary pressure in Afghanistan.

Although there has been a decline in food prices compared to the previous year in Afghanistan, the overall prices remain high compared to August 2021. As a result, the purchasing power of the people has diminished, impacting their ability to afford essential food items.

Regarding the stability of Afghanistan currency (Afghani) against the US dollar, WFP stated: “The stability of the AFN began to take hold between January and March 2022 when UN cash shipments began, and the De facto authorities exerted strong controls on the illegal export of foreign currency, strengthening the AFN rate.”

The exchange rate between the US dollar and Afghani demonstrated a downward trend. Specifically, the rate declined from 105 Afghanis per US dollar in December 2021 to 86 Afghanis per US dollar in April 2023.

WFP further stated that the rise in the exchange rate of Afghani against foreign currencies is a favorable development for the Afghanistan economy. This development is expected to contribute to price stability and enhance the purchasing power of households in the country.