PESHAWAR: The traders have expressed concern over shortage of onions in the country and demanded of federal government to allow duty-free import of the commodity to facilitate people.

The demand was made during an emergency meeting here on Thursday with central president of All Pakistan Agricultural Commodity Markets Malik Sohny in the chair. The participants of the meeting said that it was duty of federal government to take immediate measures for import of onions otherwise people would be unable to get the commodity.

They said that presently onions were imported from about eight different countries.

They said that tomatoes were imported from Iran but the import was stopped owing to 120 per cent increase in tax.

They said that government was not providing any subsidy to dealers on onion to ensure its sufficient availability in the country.

The traders said that onions were imported from Afghanistan, China, Turkey, Iran, Tajikistan, Dubai, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Egypt at a price of Rs120 to Rs150 per kilogram including tax and transport cost. They said the price of one kilogram of onions was about Rs200 in the country.

The participants of the meeting said that traders, district administration and commission agents were not responsible for shortage of onions. They said that district administration was arresting traders and imposing fines on them on the directives of government.

They said that they would stop importing onions and tomatoes if the administration did not stop raids on their shops and warehouses.

They said that traders were doing business earn their livelihoods with honour but in the prevailing situation it was difficult for them to keep their shops open.

They said that the prices of vegetables were low in Peshawar district as compared to other parts of the country. They said that instead of appreciating traders, the district administration was teasing them for the high prices of vegetables.

They said that they would continue to cooperate with the government and administration but would not tolerate misuse of powers and injustice.

Published in Dawn, November 25th, 2022

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