Tomato crop arrival has been delayed in Sindh and Balochistan owing to cold weather while Punjab’s production is already on the market which accounts for a tomato shortage resulting in very high price.
This was revealed by senior officials of the Ministry of National Food and Security (MNFSR) while talking to Business Recorder here on Monday.
A visit to different markets in the twin cities revealed that tomatoes were being sold in the range of Rs200-250 per kg; and were sold at as high as Rs300 per kg in Karachi and some other parts of the country recording an increase of up to Rs150 in a single day.
Dr Waseem Hassan, Food Commissioner, MNFSR told Business Recorder that the recent wave of cold weather has adversely affected the tomato crop. He added that at the end of summer season most vegetables’ prices increase every year due to a delay in their maturity.
Food Commissioner said most of the national highways and motorways were choked following heavy traffic for several days due to the annual Tableegh-e-ijtima in Raiwand (Lahore). The second phase of the three-day tableeghi-e-ijtima culminated in Raiwind on Sunday. Tomato supply from Swat and Gomal therefore took additional time to reach the market especially in Karachi, and resultantly a demand supply gap was created, which resulted in price increase, he added. He further said that tomatoes consumption increased by 10-12 percent during the current month which also raised demand.
However, the Commissioner was optimistic saying that crop arrival situation would improve in the next 48 hours and prices would come down.
Replying to a question, Hassan said that it is not correct that tomato prices increased due to ban on imports from India as its import is banned since 2017. However, import from Afghanistan is continuing without any disruption.
Under Pakistan Customs Tariff (PCT), tomatoes are subjected to zero percent customs duty at the import stage.
A senior official revealed that October/November is an idle period, when Punjab’s production is over and Sindh’s crop has not yet come on the market taking around 15-20 days to reach the urban centres. He further said that some traders are increasing pressure on the government for additional imports, but the government is resisting it as it will destroy local farmers.
Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) submitted a resolution to the Punjab Assembly on Monday, against the sale of tomatoes for Rs400 per kg.
As per reports, the resolution was submitted by PML-N member Sameera Komal, and states that the price of tomatoes has once again sky rocketed, with the official rate of tomatoes set at Rs185/kg and the profit mafia selling it for Rs400/kg.
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