LAHORE

Although prices of most of vegetables continued to remained stable during the last week but rates of some vegetables, including onions and tomatoes, registered sharp increase in both Sunday bazaars and open market due to supply reasons.

The government of Punjab had set up Sunday bazaars to control inflation in the province but they have failed to do so, as rates of majority of kitchen items including vegetables are almost the same as in open market and some Sunday bazaar items have difference of just Rs3-5 per kg when compared with those of open market. However, the poultry is the only item which was available at a high concession as compared to open market. Onion was sold at around Rs60 per kg on Sunday while it was selling at Rs50 before Eid, while tomato was sold at up to Rs100 per kg.

Most of the vegetables rates were stable while some items registered raise despite abundant supply. Cauliflower rate was up to Rs55 per kg from earlier rate of Rs40 per kg while peas rates went up to Rs200 per kg from last rate of Rs120 per kg. This week in the Sunday bazaars, price of potato was fixed at Rs45 per kg and A-grade potato was sold at Rs55 per kg while onion rate was raised by Rs14 per kg, tomato price was increased by Rs7 per kg. Carrot price was raised to Rs67 per kg and turnip rate was fixed at Rs44 per kg and sold at Rs65 per kg. Ginger (Thailand) rate was increased by Rs10 per kg and fixed at Rs250 and ginger (India) at Rs 275 per kg.

The Punjab government had set up the special makeshift Sastay bazaars across the province to control the price hike of vegetables and fruits. However, the efforts of the government have proved futile due to its artificial steps to control the inflation.

President of Anjuman Wholesale Vegetable Market Haji Shabbir said the Balochistan onion crop is drawing to an end, resulting in low supply in the markets. He said onion price may stabilize by mid of October when supply of new Sindh crop would reach the market. He said that for the last three months, onions had also been exported to the United Arab Emirates, Malaysia, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. He added that India is also purchasing Pakistani onion from Dubai.

According to experts, if government makes efforts to reduce the involvement of the middlemen in supply of the perishable items from farm to market, the inflation can be controlled to a large extent. The government can also reduce the prices by ensuring provision of subsidy to the farmers.