Over a week after Prime Minister (PM) Imran Khan’s Adviser on Finance, Revenue and Economic Affairs Dr Abdul Hafeez Sheikh claimed that tomatos were “being sold for Rs17 per kilogram (kg) in Karachi”, latest reports have revealed that the prices have soared to Rs400/kg from Rs300-320/kg last week.
Speaking to media personnel, the PM’s adviser had said that people were lying when he was told that tomatoes were being sold at Rs240/kg. He told reporters that they were being sold at Rs 17/kg at Karachi’s sabzi mandi [vegetable market].
A journalist then asked, “Which sabzi mandi, sir?” To which, Dr Sheikh responded, “You go and check it out yourself!”
According to Dawn, in the absence of any landed price of the Iranian tomato, greedy traders also brought the price of Swat and Sindh crop at par with the Iranian tomato rate to make huge profits. But the local administration, like its past practice, quoted an unrealistic retail rate of Rs253 per kg compared to Rs193 per kg.
In the first week of November, the official retail rate of tomato was Rs117 per kg and Tuesday’s official price clearly indicated that the government itself was revising the price upward.
Traders said a box containing 13-14 kg of tomato was available at Rs4,200-4,500 depending on the quality, thus forcing many traders to suspend purchasing.
The government had last week issued a permit for importing 4,500 tonnes of tomato from Iran, but the arrival of the red fruit had yet to pick up pace in the market, resulting in a persistent hike in the rates in view of rising demand.
Of the 4,500 tonnes, only 989 tonnes had arrived in the country so far, a trader said, adding that he could not confirm whether more quantities arrived at the Taftan border on Tuesday.