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Increased vegetable prices hurt customers in Pakistan

Internews Report

KARACHI: Some 20 to 25 per cent increase in vegetable prices in the wholesale and retail markets of Pakistan, particularly its largest city Karachi, have badly hurt purchasing powers of general consumers pushing them beyond their buying capacity.

The upward revision in prices of most of the vegetable was attributed by the traders as the fallout of this week’s devastating rain in the largest city of Pakistan turning the Sabzi Mandi [Vegetable Wholesale Market] situated at the Super Highway into a pile of garbage and mud.

Besides torrential rain in Balochistan and Sindh areas, considered as major source of vegetable supply to Karachi, have also played havoc with road and transportation network disrupting vegetable supply to Karachi was also attributed as major reason for upward revision of prices of some of the vegetables.

It has virtually become impossible for the traders to carry out their daily routine work smoothly due to prevailing situation in the Sabzi Mandi, which was hardly taken cognisance by the concerned authorities.

President Falahi Anjuman Wholesale Vegetable market, Haji Shahjahan, on Thursday attributed the shortage of vegetables faced by people of Karachi due to inability of vendors to reach the Sabzi Mandi on Superhighway because of heavy downpour and accumulated rainwater on roads.

Rains also resulted in reduced supply of vegetables from the upcountry during the last many days, as 300 to 350 trucks were able to reach Sabzi Mandi during the last many days against 500 to 600 trucks, which arrive daily in normal days.

Haji Shahjahan claimed that taking advantage of the thin supply of vegetable arriving at the Mandi, retailers must have cashed in on the situation during the last many days by charging higher rates as they had limited stocks in hands.

Replying to a question he claimed that owing to heavy downpour this week the Sabzi Mandi had turned into a lake as more than 3 to 4 feet of rain water coupled with sewage water have made it virtually impossible for the traders to continue their activities smoothly.

On Wednesday, vegetable prices surged phenomenally because of thin supplies from the Sabzi Mandi as a retailer in North Nazimabad when asked a question about high vegetable prices charged by him, blamed the situation owing to short supply from Mandi.

Majority of the transporters taking advantage of the abnormal situation, enhance their fares, which also compels them to pass on the high charges to consumers.

He said that Cabbage price has shot up to Rs60 per kg level compared to old rates of Rs40 to Rs45 per kg while cauliflower has shot up to Rs30 to Rs35 per kg compared to previous price of Rs25 to Rs30 per kg. Potato, which was earlier available at Rs20 to Rs22 per kg is now sold at retail outlets at Rs24 to Rs26 per kg due to its shortage.

Similarly onion, which was sold at the same level is was earlier available to buyers at Rs20 per kg putting additional burden on the budget of a commoner. Garlic and Ginger rates have also short up during the last few days as they are now available to consumers at Rs150 to Rs160 per kg compared to old rates of Rs135 to Rs140 per kg. Okra was sold in the retail market at Rs50 per kg as compared to previous price of Rs35 to Rs40 per kg.

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