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Pak mulling buying tomatoes from Iran as price skyrockets

PTI | Islamabad | Updated: 13-11-2019 18:41 IST | Created: 13-11-2019 18:25 IST
Pak mulling buying tomatoes from Iran as price skyrockets

The Pakistan government on Wednesday said it is considering buying tomatoes from Iran after its supply was partially hit by the lack of import from India and the prices of the fruit skyrocketed between Rs 180 per kg to Rs 300 per kg in several parts of the country, according to media reports. As per the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics, the average maximum national price of tomatoes was Rs 180 per kg, while it was selling as high as Rs 300 per kg in several parts of the country, the Dawn newspaper reported.

"We will consider allowing the import of tomatoes from Iran," Muhammad Hashim Popalzai, Secretary of the Ministry of National Food Security was quoted as saying in the report. "We will think over it and make a decision in the meeting," Popalzai said, adding that he is meeting importers, the report said.

Various factors have led to a reduction in the supply of tomatoes, including ill-timed government policies and heavy rains which affected its production. The suspension of trade with India over the Kashmir issue has also contributed to rising prices of vegetables in the domestic market. The supply gap has also been partially supported by the lack of imports from Wagah border from India, the report said.

Pakistan downgraded diplomatic ties and suspended trade with India after New Delhi revoked special status given to Jammu and Kashmir. It is estimated that the imports from Iran will help compensate till the time new crop of tomatoes and onions will reach the market in the next few weeks from Sindh, the report said.

Meanwhile, the officials in the Pakistan government seemed to be totally oblivious to the rise in prices of tomatoes. In a show of ignorance, Prime Minister Imran Khan's Finance Adviser Abdul Hafeez Sheikh told a group of reporters that tomatoes were being sold as low as Rs 17 per kg in Karachi's vegetable markets, Geo TV reported.

"In Karachi, in the sabzi mandi (produce market), tomatoes are being sold for Rs 17 per kg," he was quoted as saying by the report. When some of the reporters present at the scene told him that tomatoes were, in fact, being sold at Rs 240 per kg, he refuted their comment, saying people were lying.

A journalist said: "Which sabzi mandi, sir?" To which, Sheikh responded: "You go and check it out yourself!"


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