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ISLAMABAD: The potato price has reached Rs2,700 per 40kg following reduction in area under potato cultivation and decline in per acre yield owing to low prices in the past year. Traders told Business Recorder here on Tuesday that the prices of tomatoes have also significantly increased in the country, which has reached Rs2,500 per 30 basket from Rs1,200 a month ago, owing to a ban by the government on the import of Iranian tomatoes.

Potato price in retail market of Islamabad and Rawalpindi has reached Rs90 per kg, while in up areas the commodity is being sold at Rs100 per kg, and tomatoes in retail market are being sold at Rs100 per kg.

Traders also said that if the government did not take necessary action in the coming days, wheat flour price would cross Rs100 per kg level as the flour millers were increasing the commodity price without an interval, adding that when flour millers three months ago introduced 15kg wheat flour bag they fixed price at Rs650 per bag, which later went up to Rs750, and now has reached Rs950 per 15 kg. According to the Ministry of National Food Security and Research, almost 96 percent of the total produce of potato comes from the Punjab, and during the ongoing year, the total area under potato cultivation stood at 440,000 acres, while total production remained 4.38 million tons, with a declining trend of 2.62 per cent and 6.61 percent over the previous year.

The imported Iranian tomatoes are being used by the food factories for making ketchup and other items.

Similarly, Pakistan also import some quality of potatoes from Iran, which are being used by the potato-chips manufacturing units but due to the ban, these companies have started buying local tomatoes and potatoes in bulk to stock them in the factories.

Owing to that, the supply and demand situation has been created as a result potato prices are continually up has come under severe pressure, and there is a risk of a sharp rise in the price of potatoes in the coming days as well as a decrease in availability.

Moreover, onions and ginger prices are also witnessing an upward trend as ginger price has reached Rs2,700 per 5kg mark, which is record high, which in retail is being sold at Rs600 per kg against normal price of Rs280 per kg, and onions usually available in the range of Rs130-175 per 5kg is available at Rs230 per 5kg in wholesale market, which in retail are being sold at Rs60 per kg against Rs40 per kg.

The prices of wheat flour, cooking oil, all the major pluses and rice are also gradually being hiked by the suppliers, said Haris Qureshi a grocery trader.

Haris said that wheat flour 15kg bag price had reached to Rs1,000 from Rs750 per 15kg bag within last one month.

He added that today in wholesale market prices of all the major pulses were hiked by Rs200 per bag to Rs500 per bag, which in retail had increased by Rs10 to Rs20 per kg.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2020