Pakistan has been suffering from an unprecedented economic crisis as rates of essential commodities such as tomatoes have shot through the roof. Amidst such a scenario, it has been reported by Pakistani media that owners of tomato fields are now deploying armed men to safeguard their fields as thieves are finding innovative ways to rob tomatoes. The development came after a tomato farm in Sindh’s Badin was looted by robbers.
According to the latest figures released by the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics, the average price of tomato in Pakistan hovered around Rs 180/Kg with several parts of the country witnessing the tomatoes being sold at a whopping Rs 300/Kg. A few days back tomatoes were being sold at Rs 320/Kg in Karachi. The vendors and hawkers have reasoned that the wholesale prices of tomatoes have risen significantly.
However, Pakistan PM Imran Khan’s financial advisor Dr Abdul Hafeez Sheikh appeared unbeknownst of the rising prices of tomato as he proclaimed in a media talk last week that tomato sold as low as Rs 17 per Kg in Karachi’s vegetable market.
Mocking PM’s financial advisor, journalist Naila Inayat shared a mordant image of Sheikh welcoming guests with a Tomato garland.
Tamataro ka haar.. pic.twitter.com/QIDtA9B4yf
— Naila Inayat नायला इनायत (@nailainayat) November 15, 2019
Against this backdrop, the Pakistani authorities have given their approval for importing tomatoes from Iran. Ministry of National Food Security (MFNS) Federal Secretary Muhammad Hashim Popalzai had announced that the importers in Pakistan will be allowed to procure tomatoes from Iran for a period of three to four weeks for selling in the domestic market to arrest the soaring prices. He added that the new crop of tomatoes and onion from Sindh will reach the market in the next 2-3 weeks and in the meanwhile, the imports will help to a certain extent in bridging the gap between supply and demand.
There have been multiple reasons responsible for the scarcity of tomatoes in Pakistan. The Pakistani government’s disastrous agricultural policy and untimely rains have also contributed to the tomato woes of the country. Some reports have also suggested that the suspension of trade with India in the aftermath of the abrogation of Article 370 had also played a crucial role in the rising prices of vegetables in Pakistan. According to reports, the supply gap has widened after the import of vegetables through the Wagah border was indefinitely abandoned.