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Truffles market suffers, merchants bemoan losses due to corona crisis

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Traders hope next season will bring new hope

KUWAIT CITY, May 9: After a wave of losses suffered by the traders due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the traders at the Faqa’a (truffles) market packed their bags and gifted their tents to whoever wished to have them a few days before the season ends on May 15. The Al-Seyassah daily met some traders who confirmed they have suffered huge losses as a result of the recession due to the repercussions of the “corona” crisis, which has rubbed salt in the wounds of the market, mostly due to the scarcity of the local product and more and more people prefer to use the canned products coming from Iran, Iraq and Syria. They said they are unable to pay the rent of the stalls and have to leave the season empty-handed, burdened with debts and that they will have to bear the consequences for months to come, as the losses of the past and current two years have hit them hard. Ahmed Jaber, the trader of truffles, says the size of his losses this year exceeded the limits due to the repercussions of the corona crisis and the accompanying partial curfew, in addition to the scarcity of the product this year.

He said he paid 2,000 dinars this season for renting his place in the truffles market and has to return almost empty handed. He said he hopes the next season will bring new hope to keep the truffles market alive and kicking. Another trader Boufares asserted most of the truffles sellers were not able to pay the full rent due to the losses they suffered. He says he hopes the rents will be reduced to half especially since the Kuwaitis who rent the place from the Municipality is very low. Bu Rafik chipped in saying he made no profit this season because the cost of the rent was higher than his earnings. He said it is unfortunate that those who rent the places from the Municipality for very low amount lease out to traders at an exorbitant prices.

The seller of truffles, Zaidu Ahmed, confirms that the corona crisis hit the truffles market this year and the last year, with losses that were never before witnessed. Moreover, Kuwait imports truffles from Syria, Iraq, Libya, Algeria and Tunisia, in addition to the Kuwaiti local product. This year, according to merchants, the delay in bringing the truffles from Iraq was due to the scarcity of rain and the closure of the borders due to corona, and the Iraqi truffles did not reach the market until the end of January whose price ranges between 15 and 20 dinars per kilo depending on the size of the faqa’a. The price of Kuwaiti truffles exceeds 30 dinars.

By Najeh Bilal Al-Seyassah Staff

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