ISLAMABAD    -     As the shortage of tomatoes in the country has a caused sharp rise in prices of the commodity, the government is considering to import it from Iran, sources said. The government has finally reached a decision to explore avenues including import of tomatoes from Iran to arrest the skyrocketing prices of the vegetable in the domestic market.

The Ministry of National Food Security is meeting importers today to look into ways of speeding up import of tomatoes from neighboring countries, sources said. According to officials the ministry is considering to allow import of tomatoes from Iran. A decision is expected in the meeting today.

It is estimated that new crop of tomatoes and onion from Sindh will reach the market in the next two to three weeks while price stabilisation may take a few more days. Imports from Iran will help to fill the gap to an extent. As per the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics’ Weekly Sensitive Price Indicator, the official prices of 1kg tomatoes on average in major cities are: Islamabad (Rs163.78), Rawalpindi (Rs157.11), Lahore (155.16), Karachi (149.66) and Hyderabad (153.03).

The price figures, however, are in stark contrast to the ground situation as markets in the twin cities revealed that tomatoes were being sold in the range of Rs200-250 per kg, while they were being sold at Rs300 per kg in Karachi and some other parts of the country.