LAHORE – The abundant supply of some veggies from India has helped stabilise the rates of vegetables with already huge stock in the country, as export to Afghanistan is halted due to closure of Pak-Afghan border after Nato strike incident.

In the same way, a constant supply of tomato from India has kept its rate at around Rs30 per kg, which was being sold during the last week for Rs40-45 per kg in the open market as well as the Sunday bazaars.

Vegetable wholesale market sources told The Nation that there is a bumper harvest of several vegetables and fruit produce and their stock is piling up, as supply to Afghanistan is completely stopped due to closure of Pak-Afghan trade route. They said that prices of most of the vegetables and fruits have decreased during the season due to abundant stock, hitting the farmers hard.

Kinno, which is usually sold in the range of Rs 80 to 100 per dozen is nose-dived to Rs 50 per dozen at retail level due to halt in export to Afghanistan.

Same is the case with potatoes, which is selling in the range of Rs 12 to 15 in open as well as at Sunday Bazaars.

They said that hundreds of thousands of tons of these fruits and vegetables are produced in our area, but the market demand is just half of it. Earlier, the farmers had an option to sell their produce in the neighbouring country. We have no proper cold storage facility which forces the farmers to make distress sales. “Though there is bumper harvest of vegetables this year, the situation is such that we are not even able to realise the labour cost from the sales, forget about profit,” lamented a farmers’ organization representative. He said prices of vegetables depend upon demand and supply. “This time, the high production and halt in export have brought down the prices,” he added. In Punjab some vegetable crops are in early stages and they will take around two months to be fully ripped and reached the market. Hence, the existing gap between demand and supply has been significantly bridged by the plentiful supply of vegetables from the neighbouring countries, said Fida Hussain, an official of the market committee.

He said that there is limited local onion stock and the constant supply from Iran is fulfilling our requirements. As it is brought from a very long distance, so the high cost of labour and transportation make them more expensive, he said and added that the commodity is still cheaper as the price of onion had jumped to Rs 1,400 per maund during the last week. Its retail price had soared to Rs 35 and now it is available in the range of Rs 30-25 per kg.

Rana Majid, a vegetable stall holder at Islampura Sunday bazaar, appreciated the govt for allowing tomatoes and other vegetables import from India. According to him if import was not allowed the tomatoes and onions would have been sold at over Rs100 per kg all over the country.

During the survey of Sunday bazaars, it was found that the price of garlic (China) was fixed at Rs 90 per kg. Ginger (China) was fixed at Rs60 per kg and sold at Rs 70 per kg. Onions were being sold for Rs 30-35 per kilogramme, potatoes for Rs10-15 per kilogramme, tomatoes for Rs 30 per kilogramme, cabbages for Rs20 per kilogramme, cauliflower for Rs18 per kg, ladyfingers for Rs 80 per kilogramme and bitter gourd Rs 100 per kg, green chilli for Rs 45-60 per kilogramme, bringle for Rs 305 and peas for Rs 50.