KUWAIT: Food merchants are asking state officials to intervene in order to speed up the slow pace of inspections of fruit and vegetable imports, which has resulted in delays in the delivery of supplies to the market. This has caused the prices of some products to shoot up, most notably onions, whose prices have shot up from KD 2.5 for a bag to KD 10.

Facing a public outcry and accusations of price-gouging, merchants at the Furda Market in Sulaibiya, Kuwait's largest fruit and vegetable market, blamed the health ministry for introducing new measures at its laboratories to examine the quality of imported food.

Chairman of the Union of Kuwaiti Traders and Food Manufacturers Abdullah Al-Buaijan said the union had received complaints from importers about the delay in examining samples from over 200 containers carrying 600 tons of fruits and vegetables. He added such protracted measures have caused a lot of damage to onion shipments, some of which have been held up for over two months and will have to be destroyed.

By Meshaal Al-Enezi