Iranian tomatoes bring no relief for consumers

Updated November 19, 2019

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The arrival of Iranian tomato consignment at Super Highway Sabzi Mandi failed to bring any relief to consumers in the city on Monday as retailers continued to charge Rs300-320 per kg for the vegetable. — APP/File
The arrival of Iranian tomato consignment at Super Highway Sabzi Mandi failed to bring any relief to consumers in the city on Monday as retailers continued to charge Rs300-320 per kg for the vegetable. — APP/File

KARACHI: The arrival of Iranian tomato consignment at Super Highway Sabzi Mandi failed to bring any relief to consumers in the city on Monday as retailers continued to charge Rs300-320 per kg for the vegetable.

Talking to Dawn, traders said only a limited quantity of imported tomato reached the wholesale market in Karachi which kept retail prices under pressure. They added that depending on the quality, Iranian tomato was being sold Rs180-220 per kg – almost the same prices were quoted for tomatoes from Swat and Sindh.

A large number of retailers did not lift tomatoes owing to higher prices. “I did not purchase tomatoes today for the first time in 20 years due to very high prices which many consumers are unable to pay,” a push cart dealer at F.B. Area said. A 20-22 kg crate of Iranian tomato is costing Rs4,500 in which 4-5kg are rotten and go to waste,” he added.

Many consumers have either stopped buying tomatoes buying or are only purchasing maximum 250 grams for Rs250 for their daily cooking needs, he said.

Consumers are surprised by the wholesalers silence in revealing the actual landed cost of Iranian tomato. In the absence of any strict price checking mechanism, higher wholesale prices have been fixed keeping in view the demand and supply gap.

The government had initially issued permits for importing 4,500 tonnes of Iranian tomatoes last week.

Patron-in-Chief All Pakis­tan Fruit and Vegetable Exporters, Importers, and Merchants Association (PFVA) Waheed Ahmed claimed that only 989 tonnes out of the 4,500 tonnes have arrived so far. “Out of these 989 tonnes, only two containers carrying 44 tonnes impo­rted tomatoes had reached in Karachi Wholesale Mandi,” he added.

On Saturday, the PFVA chief had told Dawn that the landed cost of Iranian tomato would not be more than Rs 100 per kg. “I cannot tell the landed cost now. However, trading price of tomato is ranging between Rs180-250 per kg,” he added.

The ongoing sit in of the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl at main arteries is also creating problems in transportation of vegetables and other items from one province to another.

President Falahi Anjuman Wholesale Vegetable Market Super Highway Mandi, Haji Shahjehan also confirmed the arrival of two containers of tomato, with trading price ranging between Rs180-220 per kg.

Published in Dawn, November 19th, 2019