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March 29, 2020

Vegetable and fruit markets in Sindh to stay shut for 12 hours a day

Karachi

March 29, 2020

All wholesale vegetable and fruit markets throughout Sindh will remain closed from noon till midnight in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sindh’s minister for agriculture, Muhammad Ismail Rahoo, in a press statement, said on Saturday that all the wholesale vegetables markets would keep their operations suspended from noon till midnight. The hours of operation will be after midnight till noon.

He held out the assurance that there would not be any significant effect on the supply of fruits and vegetables after reducing the operational hours of the markets.

There are as many as 23 wholesale vegetable and fruit markets in the province. The reason for the decision, according to the minister, is to stop the spread of the coronavirus among traders and buyers through the vegetable market.

As for selling vegetables and fruits, he said that it could only be done until noon. “There’s already a ban on clusters of people and unnecessary rush inside all markets of the city, including the wholesale vegetable and fruit markets,” he said.

The agriculture minister has asked all the market committees’ chairmen to strictly implement the decision and make sure that when the operations have been suspended, all the markets are properly washed.

“Masks and sanitisers have already been distributed inside wholesale vegetable and fruit markets,” he said.

Meanwhile, speaking to The News, the vice chairman of the wholesale fruit and vegetable market along Karachi’s Super Highway, Asif Ahmed, said that they had already planned to reduce their working hours to 12.

When asked if this would affect the supplies of fruits and vegetables to the city, he responded that it wouldn’t make any significant affect, as there was already a decline in the demand for vegetables and fruits. “There’s 40 to 50 per cent decline in the demand,” he said.

There are only a few fruits, which, he said, are coming from Punjab: melons, oranges and watermelons.

As for the rest of the vegetables and fruits being consumed these days, he said, all are coming from Sindh, except for potatoes.

Most of the traders, he said, have already left the metropolis and have gone back to their villages, due to which they aren’t observing much rush in the wholesale market.

“Still there are hundreds of buyers and traders present during the night, for which we have to make announcements to keep distance with each other,” he said and added that they have already installed washbasins at the gates of the market and have distributed masks and sanitisers.