Price of onions reached Rs150-160 from Rs50-60 per kg while tomatoes go up to Rs200 from Rs80 per kg. The influx of imported vegetables in the market brought no relief to the public.

Furthermore, the rates of all other vegetables were also increased, as consumers paid Rs600-700 per kg for imported ginger for the sake of good quality.

Retailers have maintained that the price surge has been the result of suspension in arrival of Iranian tomatoes and onions and Afghan onions in the last week.

They also said that Balochistan crops of both onions and tomatoes have so far proved inadequate which resulted in imports from Iran and Afghanistan.

Commissioner Karachi’s retail rates for tomatoes and onions have also been raised to Rs168 and Rs73 from Rs93 and Rs43 per kg, respectively on October 1. As of September 1, the official retail rates of the two vegetables were Rs58 and Rs41.

Consumers are hopeless of any price relief when the regulator had been increasing the rates so frequently without being vary of whether the prices had been elevated artificially or because of a genuine demand and supply gap.

Due to subpar quality, taste, color and overall appearance of imported tomatoes and onions in comparison to the locally produced, people were seen limiting their tomato needs, in addition to the majority’s unaffordability at price of Rs200 per kg.

Contrastingly, consumers did pay Rs400 per kg for tomato in Novem­ber 2019 despite allowing imports from Iran to curb soaring prices.

Falahi Anjuman Wholesale Vegetable Market President Haji Shahjehan has said that prices may remain under pressure until Sindh’s onion crop would start arriving in late October and would reach its peak in November and December while tomato crop from various areas of Sindh in limited quantities would start arriving from third week of October.

Meanwhile in Islamabad, the National Price Monitoring Committee (NPMC) on Monday held a meeting to identify reasons for abnormal variation in prices of onions, tomatoes, potatoes as well as other essential items like sugar, wheat and chicken.

Headed by Special Secretary Mohsin Mushtaq Chandna, the meeting went over multiple proposals to tame prices and was attended by representatives from provincial governments and various divisions.

The meeting observed that an upward trend was witnessed in prices of perishable commodities during September-October. The major reason cited for this was unprecedented rainfall, which adversely affected the local produce.

The price hike is said to stabilise by November onward when local production would be available in the markets. It was also observed with concern that the difference between wholesale and retail prices of the essential commodities is becoming a serious challenge for provinces.

Member of staff, the author is a Political Science alumna from Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS). She keeps an eye out for issues of social justice, censorship and our changing political discourse.
She can be reached at rabeeaqamar@thecorrespondent.pk

Member of staff, the author is a Political Science alumna from Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS). She keeps an eye out for issues of social justice, censorship and our changing political discourse. She can be reached at rabeeaqamar@thecorrespondent.pk

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