KARACHI, May 2: Vegetable traders on Thursday increased price of onion by Rs5 to 10 per kg.

Onion is now being sold at Rs45 to 50 per kg in retail as against its price of Rs35 and 45 on Wednesday while in the wholesale its prices increased to Rs35-40 per kg from Rs30.

Exporters and wholesalers are not happy over thriving imports from neighboring countries as such imports, they believe, would cause harm to local growers.

Indian bananas and tomatoes are also arriving while Iranian apple is also seen in many markets. Pakistanis have tasted Indian grapes between January to March 2013.

Chairman, Falahi Anjuman Wholesale Vegetable Market (Super Highway) Haji Shahjehan, claimed that some 150,000-175,000 tonnes of Indian onion had entered Pakistan since February to-date at a price of Rs1,300-1,350 per 40kgs.

He said that Indian tomato was also being regularly imported via Wagha, but it was mostly feeding Punjab, while local production from Sindh and Balochistan crops was being consumed in Karachi.

The wholesale rate of tomato hovers between Rs20 and 25 per kg while it is priced at Rs40 per kg in retail.

Shahjehan said that there were reports of arrival of some other vegetables, like lady-finger, green chillies and bitter-gourd from India to Pakistan in the Punjab while Indian banana is also arriving. The government, he said, should ban import of such items when supply from local crop is available.”

He said that production cost of various fruits and vegetables in Pakistan is higher than India.

Chairman, All-Pakistan Fruit and Vegetable Importers Exporters and Merchants Association, Waheed Ahmed, was of the view that between February and March some 600 containers, each carrying 12 tonnes of onion, arrived per week.

He said from July 2012 to April 2013, around 4,000 containers arrived with Indian tomato. He said that Indian banana was being sold for the last three years and it is finding way through Kashmir. Around 48 tonnes per week were shipped from July 2012 to March 2013 in the country at an import price of Rs550-600 per 13kgs. Waheed said that from November 2012 to April 2013, around 3,500 trucks (each carrying 22 tons of Iranian apple) reached Pakistan at Rs750-1,000 per 11kgs.

He said that local exporters have to undergo tough quarantine conditions from importing countries, but in Pakistan foreign fruits and vegetables are easily available without any check. He said that share of imported fruits and vegetables is growing. In our country, no effort is being made for improvement and research in local crop.

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