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Another shock for consumers as tomato prices hit Rs200 per kg

Another shock for consumers as tomato prices hit Rs200 per kg

KARACHI: Prices of tomato reached Rs200 per kg in retail markets of the metropolis on Thursday, owing to the jump in wholesale prices.

On Monday, the tomato price was Rs160 per kg, but on Tuesday and Wednesday it plunged to Rs120-140 per kg.

Traders unleashed an unpleasant surprise on consumers on Thursday when they pushed up tomato price by Rs60-80 per kg in a single day.

“How can I sell tomato at a lower price when I buy a box carrying 14-15 kilograms of tomatoes from the vegetable market off the Superhighway for Rs2,600, in which tomatoes weighing about five to six kilograms are either slightly rotten or unripe?” a trader in F.B. Area questioned.

Due to lack of any check on quality and price, the consumers are forced to buy unripe tomatoes at Rs200 per kg. As a result, many buyers have reduced purchase of tomatoes, limiting it to only required quantity.

Many traders halted their procurement from the wholesale market on Thursday due to the sharp jump in the price. As a result, availability of tomato at various shops remained quite thin.

The traders said some green vegetables like cucumber (kheera), ridged gourd (tori), bottle gourd (loki), apple gourd (tinda) are priced between Rs40-60 per kg, while okra (bhindi) and bitter gourd (karela) are available for Rs80 per kg each. Potato costs Rs30-40 per kg.

While consumers are already reeling over onion and tomato crisis, the price of cauliflower — though its new crop has arrived — has risen to Rs100 per kg from Rs80 per kg. Spinach has also become costlier as it is available for Rs60 per kg from Rs30-40 per kg.

The consumers had seen price surge ahead of Eidul Azha when the tomato price rose up to Rs50-60 per kg from Rs30-40 followed by a jump in onion price to Rs60 from Rs30 per kg as the Karachi commissioner — a watchdog for prices — could not swing into action.

The consumers had already paid Rs100-120 per kg for onion during Eid days and now its price hovers between Rs70-80 per kg.

On Sept 21, the Karachi commissioner had fixed mandi and retail rate of tomato at Rs100 and Rs120 per kg but these rates were not followed by the traders.

Falahi Anjuman Wholesale Market Superhighway’s president Haji Shahjehan said Balochistan crop, which is coming to an end, is feeding both Karachi and some cities of Punjab, thus putting pressure on tomato prices.

He said the retailers were trying to mint more money from the consumers by claiming higher wholesale prices while on the contrary tomato’s wholesale price was Rs140-150 per kg on Thursday, up by Rs50 per kg in a single day.

Published in Dawn, September 22nd, 2017

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