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Pakistan

No proposal under consideration to import vegetables from India: FO

  • We are in touch with countries in the broader region to facilitate the earliest import of vegetables in the country, FO spokesman Asim Iftikhar Ahmad says
Published September 1, 2022

The Foreign Office (FO) clarified Thursday that currently, no proposals were under consideration to allow import of vegetables from India.

“We are in touch with countries in the broader region to facilitate the earliest import of vegetables in the country,” FO spokesman Asim Iftikhar Ahmad said in a weekly press briefing today.

Pakistan to consider vegetable imports from arch-rival India to mitigate floods fallout

The statement from the ministry of foreign affairs comes days after Finance Minister Miftah Ismail said that the government will consider importing vegetables from India to mitigate flood fallout.

"We can consider importing vegetables from India," the minister said in an interview.

Turkey and Iran could also be other options, he said.

Later, he clarified that the decision to allow the import of food items from India would be taken after evaluating the supply position and consulting with coalition partners and key stakeholders.

Imports from India: decision to be taken after evaluating supply situation, says Miftah

Taking to social media, Miftah said more than one international agency has approached the government to allow them to bring food items from India through the land border.

“The government will take the decision to allow imports or not based on supply shortage position, after consulting its coalition partners and key stakeholders,” he said.

Unprecedented flash floods caused by historic monsoon rains have caused widespread damage affecting more than 33 million people.

Pakistan’s agriculture sector has faced the major brunt of the natural calamity, as food prices have risen significantly in many parts of the country. For instance, tomatoes are being sold for Rs400-500 per kg while onions are available at Rs150-200 per kg.

Earlier, the Pakistan Fruit and Vegetable Importers Exporters Merchants Association (PFVA) on Monday called for the immediate abolition of duties and taxes on the import of onions and tomatoes in Pakistan, while calling for restarting trade with India.

“To meet the demand of onion and tomatoes in the country, we have to initiate import from India,” PFVA Patron-in-Chief Waheed Ahmad had told Business Recorder.

Pakistan expects a hit of $10 billion to the economy due to flooding, said Miftah.

Being an agricultural country, Pakistan heavily relies on monsoon rains for its crops and to replenish lakes and dams, but it can also bring destruction. Moreover, the flooding could not have come at a worse time for Pakistan, where the economy remains engulfed in rising inflation and depleting forex reserves.

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