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    Almost 4,000 tons of potatoes imported last month from Saudi Arabia have flooded vegetable markets in Yemen at a cheaper price than the local produce leading the Cabinet to halt the import altogether since last week.

    According to a trade treaty, Yemen imports potatoes from Saudi Arabia every year during the winter season when production is low. This year, the country has imported large quantities from Saudi Arabia due to a cold wave that hit the Marib governorate, one of the largest potatoes producers in the country, and floods that had devastated the governorates of Hadramout and Mahra.

    Small merchants say that, if it weren’t for the imported potatoes, there would be a shortage in the market. Moreover, people cannot afford buying local grown potatoes because they are very expensive.

    “Importing potatoes from Saudi Arabia has helped local consumers,” said Ali Nasser, grocery seller in the Al-Raqas market in Sana’a. “There are not enough quantities of local potatoes because of cold weather which hit the country last month.”

    “The price of the potato has increased nowadays even the kind imported from Saudi Arabia,” said Jaber Al-Umaisi, vegetable wholesaler at Al-Hasaba Central Market. This kind of potatoes, he says, comes to our market in bad conditions because they spend so much time at the border. He thinks that “importing them should be banned.”