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November 21, 2019

Tomatoes ideal wedding gift?

Top Story

November 21, 2019

RAWALPINDI: Bewildered Pakistanis are responding to historic spikes in the price of tomatoes with wistful wit and hungry humour as the fruit fiasco reaches fever pitch.

The beleaguered and tomato-scarce country is considering buying tomatoes from Iran after supplies dwindled due to heavy rains, which hampered domestic production, as well as the suspension of trade with India over the Kashmir issue.

The lack of imports amid its ongoing spat with its neighbour has hit particularly hard, with prices of the vine fruit skyrocketing to record highs of Rs400 per kilogram in certain parts of the country, reported social media.

That represents an even-further increase from an already eye watering Rs300-320 per kg on Monday. For reference, prices hovered around Rs117 per kg in the first week of November.

The decision to sell in parity with Iranian prices is yielding local Pakistani traders major, meme worthy profits, as seen online. “When a bouquet of Tomatoes and Chilgozay (pine nuts) are a very acceptable gift at a Shaadi (wedding) #RightNowInPakistan,” Pakistani celebrity Shaniera Akram joked on Twitter.

The message has inspired an outpouring of memes as Pakistanis attempt to laugh through the trying situation.

Meanwhile, Pakistani journalist Naila Inayat shared what appeared to be parody footage, complete with a laugh track and sound effects, showing a Pakistani bride adorned with tomatoes instead of traditional ornate jewellery at a wedding ceremony. “The price of gold is very high. Tomatoes and pine nuts are expensive as well. So, I used tomatoes for my wedding,” the ‘bride’ says. Various versions of the video have gone viral with over 33,000 views on Twitter and some 383,585 views on YouTube and 1.3 million views on Facebook. The reporter in the clip, Yasir Shami, is known for his satirical videos.

New crops of tomatoes and onions are expected in several weeks so the scarcity and the bittersweet banter may have a limited shelf life.

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