Price of tomato in Karachi skyrockets to Rs 400 per kg: report

Karachi: The price of tomato in Pakistan's largest city Karachi on Tuesday skyrocketed to a record high of Rs 400 per kilogram due to a range of factors, including import restriction, according to a media report.

The Pakistan government last week issued a permit for importing 4,500 tonnes of tomatoes from Iran, but its arrival did not pick up pace in the market, resulting in a persistent hike in the rates due to rising demand, Dawn News reported.

Of the 4,500 tonnes, only 989 tonnes arrived in Pakistan, a trader was quoted as saying by the report. People in Karachi got a shock since last week when the price of tomato rose from Rs 300 per kg to Rs 400 per kg on Wednesday.

The high price of the fruit is to be blamed to the shortage of tomato crops this year. "Right now tomatoes from Iran and Swat are selling in Karachi and there is a shortage which has led to the price boom," a trader said.

Earlier this month, the official retail rate of tomato was Rs 117 per kg. The federal government is to be blamed for the price hike as it has restricted import to a few people instead of allowing a free import by any trader, the report said.

As a result, the limited quantities were already booked and sold at the Taftan border, it said. Previously open imports had somewhat kept the tomato prices stable, Falahi Anjuman Wholesale Vegetable Market president Haji Shahjehan said.

Various factors have led to reduction in the supply of tomatoes, including ill-timed government policies and heavy rains which affected its production, an earlier report said.

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