ISLAMABAD (APP) - As the winter season is in full swing, the demand and sale of dry fruits has significantly increased in the twin cities of Islamabad and Rawalpindi. However, with the increasing demand, the prices have also gone up beyond the reach of common man. Apart from regular shopkeeper, dry fruit vendors have raised prices of dry fruits out of proportion. Cashew nut is sold at the rate of Rs. 850 per kg, Almonds 620 per kg, Pistachio Rs. 1000 per kg, nuts 180 per kg, pine nut (Chilghoza) Rs 1000 per kg, fig Rs. 250 per kg, peanut Rs 140 per kg while dry apricots are being sold at Rs 200 per kg in the open market. "Dry fruit dealers use to store dry fruits, which result in shortage of the commodities in the market and thereby leading to increasing prices," a dry fruit vendor told this news agency. He, however, said that this is only one reason of price hike adding that there are several other factors leading to increasing prices during the winter season. The prices of dry fruits including Almond, pistachio, walnut, pine nut (chilghoza), date, cashew nut (Kaju), dried apricot, coconut, fig and peanut increase in winter season as these are mostly demanded during the season. Most of these fruits are grown in hilly areas like Northern Areas, Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK), Balochistan, FATA and NWFP. A dry fruit shop owner, Gul Khan in Aabpara Market, told this news agency that dry fruits are mostly used in winter season to get some relief from cold and argued that the rates were normal and there was no price hike as some people blame. But many buyers complain that the prices of dry fruits this year have shot up and became out of their reach. However, when contacted the vendor said they themselves get these fruits at high rates from other cities.