Tomato Crisis :Pakistan decides not to import veggies from India

Prices of tomatoes skyrocketing in Pakistan

By Muhamamd Luqman
Pakistani authorities have failed to check the upward movement of the tomato prices as the per kilogram price of red vegetable crossed the mark of Rs 200 in urban centres like Lahore and Karachi.
The prices of the kitchen crops like tomato and onion experienced upward increase on the occasion of Eidul Adha due to abnormally high demand of the veggies for meat-based curries across Pakistan but have not subsided despite lapse of three weeks.
“ The increase in the prices of tomato is due to widening gap between the demand and the supply of the vegetable ; We are presently having tomatoes from Khyber Pakhtun Khawa and even from neighbouring Afghanistan,” says Haji Muhammad Bilal, a trader at Lahore’s vegetable market.
Unlike previous practice of importing tomatoes, onion and potatoes, Pakistan has decided not to import veggies from neighbouring India this year.
“ We are not planning any import from India as the crops of tomatoes and onions in the province of Balochistan is ready for harvest,” Federal Minister for Food Security , Sikandar Hayat Bosan.
Recent skirmishes on the Line of control in the disputed territory of Kashmir have cast ill-effects on India-Pakistan trade, making it difficult for the government to take any decision regarding imports.
But the food security experts believe that it will be very difficult to bring down the prices of kitchen crop to normal level unless imports are allowed from India through nearest land route of Wagha.
Formal bilateral trade between India and Pakistan has been hovering around US $ 2 billion annually but the informal trade through third countries like Singapore and United Arab Emirates is estimated to the tune of another $ 4 billion.


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