KARACHI: The limited availability of local apple in the market has been supplemented by import of the fruit to match the rise in demand during Ramazan.
The high price of imported varieties, however, has shrunk the market of the fruit as many consumers find it beyond their means.
A random market survey revealed that apple from Thailand, the United States and New Zealand is selling at Rs300-350 per kg, and Chinese apple at Rs250-300 per kg.
The locally produced small apple is available at Rs150-200 per kg. Greengrocers in various areas said price-conscious customers will have to wait for around 15 days as bulk supplies from new apple crop will find way into the market from next month.
Some fruit vendors at Karachi’s Burnes Road and some other locations put on display big size South African oranges, which cost Rs420 a dozen — with no bargain option.
Chinese grapes available in markets are fetching a price of Rs350-400 per kg while local grapes sell for Rs200-300 per kg.
Chinese pear (nashpati) is available at Rs180-200 per kg.
“Imported fruits fascinate buyers because they look better. But they can’t compete with Pakistani fruits on taste,” a retailer said, adding that apple and other imported fruits have been arriving for the last two to three months.
However, another fruit seller told Dawn that some customers are indifferent to price and they always opt for imported fruits.
In contrast to frequent arrivals of imported fruits without any check, Pakistan’s fruit exports face stiff quality checks in world markets. Currently, mango exporter are under stress after rejection of some consignments in Europe.
Waheed Ahmed, spokesperson for All-Pakistan Fruit and Vegetable Exporters, Importers and Merchants Association, said some 100-125 containers carrying different apple varieties from New Zealand, China, etc had landed in the last two to three months to fill the demand gap during the holy month.
The supply of the new crop of apple is expected to arrive next month. The price of imported apples hovers between Rs4,300-4,500 per 18-19kg packet in the wholesale market, he added.
He said some five to six containers of South African oranges had also arrived followed by limited arrivals of Chinese pear and grapes.
Waheed said that Indian grapes also found way in Pakistan through Kashmir. He claimed that market of fruits is the biggest in Punjab.
Published in Dawn, July 19th , 2014