Food items for sale in the Nabi Younis market in eastern Mosul on Thursday. It reads cucumber and aubergine for 500 Iraqi dinars, about 40 cents. Photo: Rudaw video
MOSUL-ERBIL – A Kurdish voice fills one of the grocery markets in Mosul, calling to sell vegetables brought to the city from the Kurdish capital of Erbil, often at prices lower than in Kurdistan.
Since the liberation of the eastern half of Mosul about three months ago, the Kurdish economy has found a new market with as many 300 loads of trucks making their way to the city, with some of the food items eventually ending up in the right bank of the Tigris River where the Iraqi armed forces are fighting against the remaining ISIS militants.
Nabi Younis is one of the big and busiest markets of eastern Mosul. But the produce here all nearly makes their way from Erbil into what was once Iraq’s second-largest city.
“Tomatoes are brought here from Erbil through Gogjali,” a grocer told Rudaw in Mosul. “The wholesale price for the best quality tomato is 500 [Iraqi dinars] for one kilo. Then we sell one kilo for 750, and two kilos for 1, 250. [The wholesale price] for Aubergines is also 500 and we sell it for 750.”
Another grocer said that the prices are fine compared to the living conditions of the people who have just come out of the war - lacking the hard cash after months of deprivation.
Despite the fact that food items are brought from Erbil to Mosul with some 80 km distance between them, meaning extra transportation fees, the prices are surprisingly more expensive in the Kurdish city.
A Kurdish grocer in Erbil said that the difference in price is because the consumers in Mosul are for lower quality produce.
“There are three categories in terms of quality. Certainly they do not import the good quality ones,” he said where a kilo of tomato is between 1,000 to 1,500. "They take the worst to Mosul because people there are poor. Whereas here, consumers want good quality produce.”
Another grocer blamed the high prices on the wholesale food market in Erbil.
“They say tomato in Mosul is 500. But when we get it from the food market, [the wholesale price] is 750. Today we got it for 850 and we sell it for 1,250.”