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- Sunday, April 29, 2012 - From Print Edition


KARACHI: Vegetable prices fell by almost 60 percent in the wholesale market (Sabzi Mandi) on Saturday, when it opened after remaining shut for few days in protest against murder of a trader, but retailers were charging more than twice the price, a trader said.


“The wholesale rates for okra dropped to Rs10 per kg from Rs80 and gourd to Rs8 from Rs25 and so on for other vegetables,” Welfare Association Wholesale Vegetable Market President Haji Shahjahan.


“Supply has increased, which is affecting the prices,” he said.


“Trucks loaded with vegetables were parked on highway, which entered in the market resulting in decline in the prices.”


Vegetables from the Punjab, Balochistan and Sindh started entering in the market in bulk quantity, he said.


Despite of huge decline in the prices at the wholesale market, no benefit was provided to the consumers, as retailers were charging more than double the actual price. “I agree that they are charging more. A produce worth Rs10 per kg in wholesale is being sold for Rs25 even in Gulshan-e-Iqbal, which is very near to the wholesale market,” Shahjahan said. “Government had announced to open three markets at the time of shifting wholesale market to super highway but no other market has been opened as yet.”


Reason of high price charging by retailers was huge distance from the wholesale market and an increase in the price of diesel and petrol, he said, besides government had failed to announce any consumer friendly policy.


Prices of other commodities including cooking oil, sugar and flour were also high, Shahjahan said, that had also affected the vegetable prices. “Arresting the vendors is not a solution,” he said. “Government should open fair price markets in all 18 towns of Karachi.”


Pakistan remains self sufficient in production of fruits, vegetables and rice and exports them as county does not posses sufficient storages and fruits get perished if not exported.


Last year, country had to import vegetables from India, Iran and Afghanistan as local production was perished amid heavy rains in Sindh.


After losing its production in rains Pakistan imported vegetables mainly from its two close neighbours with surplus vegetables; India and Iran, which remained under unfriendly nations.


Duty on vegetable imports from Iran is round about 45 percent, almost making it impossible for the importer, as rates go high when it reaches at the hands of the consumers. Price hike of vegetables was a reason that high duty was applied on import of vegetables from these nations, said one trader.


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