More than 100 lorries carrying flour have been stuck for days at Houthi checkpoints in Sanaa, Taiz and Al-Bayda as a result of militia restrictions.
Merchants and traders said the flour originated from the Aden mill and silo facilities, and was not imported via Aden port.
The businessmen said that they had no objection to paying tax or any other Houthi-approved fees on the products.
Dozens of traders said in a letter to the Houthi minister of commerce and industry that employees in Taiz province’s Al-Rahida district had stopped them importing flour into militia-controlled regions in Taiz and other Yemeni provinces.
Employees claimed they were acting under a ministry directive, the merchants said.
Heavy rain this week will destroy the shipments, costing millions of riyals, they added.
Al-Rahida is a commercial center for local merchants in Dimnat Khadir district, one of five districts in Taiz province under Houthi control.
Abdul Basit Al-Baher, a Yemeni military officer in Taiz, told Arab News on Thursday that as many as 170 flour trucks were stuck outside Houthi checkpoints.
The militia are blocking the goods to force traders to pay more levies, even if it means raising prices or stopping desperately needed commodities from reaching the shelves, he said.
“Under different guises, the Houthis extort traders and force extra costs on them. They do not care whether the commodity’s price increases, or if it disappears from the market. They simply worry about increasing their earnings,” Al-Baher said.
The militia banned imports via government-controlled ports from the start of the year in protest against a government decision to increase the customs exchange rate and force businessmen to import goods through Hodeidah port.
Houthi harassment of businesses is expected to exacerbate Yemen’s already dire humanitarian situation, as foreign relief organizations urge donors to support their programs, which feed millions of Yemenis.
Separately, the Saudi-funded Masam demining program said that six Yemeni civilians have been killed by Houthi land mines in the Ad Duraihimi and At Tuhayta areas of the western province of Hodeidah since the start of Ramadan.
Yemeni Landmine Records, which chronicles civilian land mine casualties in the country, said that three people died when their motorcycle struck a mine in Ad Duraihimi, and two more were killed by a land mine explosion in Al-Hami, west of Hodeida.