Tomato prices continue to hover around Rs300 per kg, adding to the day-to-day woes of the public and pushing up consumer inflation, just as authorities make one promise after another to resolve the crisis.
But what has caused the price of tomatoes to spike, and will they stay this high?
Muhammad Asif, committee vice chairman of Karachi’s ‘Sabzi Mandi’, told Geo News that the monsoon downpour in recent months severely harmed tomato crop across the country. Almost 50 percent of the production was missed, resulting in a gap between supply and demand countrywide.
He assured that importers have decided to import tomatoes from Iran. “Once the new shipment comes [from there], tomato prices will go down to Rs100-120 in retail markets,” he said.
Iranian tomatoes are cheap and an instant relief in prices is expected within the next two days, he added.
In wholesale markets, tomatoes are being sold at around Rs146 per kg, whereas in retail markets the prices are hovering around Rs160 to 170 per kg, touching Rs 200 per kg in some places.
The Sindh Abadgar Board has assured that by October 20, tomato crops from Sindh will reach the market which would help the prices to reduce drastically. This year, the board said, tomato crops have been cultivated on a bigger scale which would help bring down prices to Rs30-40 per kg.
Tomato prices skyrocketed to Rs250 per kg in recent weeks, prompting Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah to take notice of the issue as he directed the agriculture department to intervene and reduce the role of middlemen.
The chief minister also ordered to arrest hoarders and those who were ‘artificially’ increasing tomato prices against the approved price list.
Meanwhile, the Punjab Agriculture Department has said the tomato crop is almost ripe in Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and would be available in sufficient quantity in Punjab soon.
The department’s spokesperson said it is hoped the prices would come down by October 15, as the commodity from other provinces reach the Punjab markets.