Pakistan News

Potato, tomato prices crash

Potato, tomato prices crash

KARACHI: Vegetable prices showed a mixed trend with the change in season while an oversupply of tomatoes and potatoes crashed down their retail prices to Rs20 per kg.

Tomato was available at Rs40 per kg few days ago while potato prices has been stable at Rs20 per kg for some time.

On the other hand, prices of some other vegetables are rising depending on their availability. A sharp difference exists between the wholesale and retail prices of various vegetables, a market survey revealed.

Retailers said transporters carrying vegetables from up country had not reduce charges despite a drop in the diesel price by Rs4.63 per litre from March 1, 2016.

President Falahi Anjuman Wholesale Vegetable Market Super Highway, Haji Shahjehan said after a sharp decline in prices, growers could shift to other crops next year.

He said many growers are reported to have destroyed their ready crop in Sindh interior owing to depressed prices.

The new tomato crop in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab would arrive in May, followed by Balochistan crop in July.

Sindh’s tomato, which started arriving from November/December 2015, is feeding other provinces right now, he said. Despite excess stocks and regular supplies, tomato is not being exported.

“Whenever, we have shortage of a particular vegetable, we buy from India. However, now that we have surplus stocks it has not been exported to India. So much for our commercial diplomacy,” he added.

Potato is also available in abundance due to better crop than last year, coupled with ongoing exports to Malaysia and Colombo. Its wholesale price is Rs10 per kg. Market traders are also putting potato in cold storages. The potato crop is also good in many other countries.

Onions, arriving from Sindh crop, are also being exported. The retail price is pegged at Rs40 per kg for the last few months while its wholesale price is Rs25 per kg. Balochistan’s crop would find way into the market after two months.

The retail price of carrots has increased to Rs40 from Rs20 per kg as its season is getting over. Same is the case with peas whose price swelled to Rs80 per kg from Rs40 per kg.

Owing to hot weather, the demand for lemons has spiked causing rise in its price to Rs40 per 250 grams from Rs30.

Shahjehan said garlic price was stable till it was arriving from India. In retail market its price has risen to Rs70-80 per 250 grams from Rs50 as it is arriving from China at higher rates.

Cucumber price dropped to Rs40-50 which was Rs60-80 per kg while bhindi (lady finger) price hovers between Rs80-100 per kg.

Turrai (smooth luffa) price had climbed up to Rs80 from Rs40-50 per kg while lokki (bottle gourd) and tinda (round gourd) price stayed unchanged at Rs40-50 per kg. Karela (bitter gourd) is available at Rs80 per kg.

Total vegetables exports rose to 351,303 tonnes ($102 million) in July-January 2015-16 from 306,363 tonnes ($87m) in same period last fiscal year, data from the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics showed.

Published in Dawn, March 18th, 2016

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