Pakistan considering importing tomatoes from Iran to curb rising prices: report

TEHRAN, Nov. 13 (MNA) – The Pakistan government announced on Wednesday that it is considering importing tomatoes from Iran in a bid to put the brakes on spiking prices of the product.

After a delay of more than a month, the government has finally reached a decision to explore avenues including import of tomatoes from Iran to arrest the skyrocketing prices of the vegetable in the domestic market, Pakistani Dawn newspaper reported on Wednesday.

The combination of ill-timed government policies and bad weather caused disruption in supply of tomatoes across the country since early October. Tomato prices in the region have shot up due to heavy rains last month.

The average maximum national price of tomatoes was Rs180 per kg, Dawn quoted the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics as saying, while adding that it is selling at as high as Rs300 per kg in several parts of the country.

As the situation spirals out of control, the Ministry of National Food Security (MNFS) was meeting importers on Wednesday in Islamabad to look into ways of speeding up imports tomatoes from neighbor countries, the English-language Pakistani newspaper added. 

“We will consider allowing import of tomatoes from Iran,” MNFS Federal Secretary Muhammad Hashim Popalzai told Dawn. He said some importers are coming to meet him in this regard. “We will think over it and make a decision in the meeting,” Popalzai added.

It is estimated that new crop of tomatoes and onion will reach the market in the next two to three weeks from Sindh. In the meanwhile, imports from Iran will help fill the gap to some extent.

But, Dawn's report adds that currently, not a single non-objection certificate was issued for import of tomatoes from Iran owing to absence of quarantine department at Taftan border. Now, the government has no option but to make special arrangements for quarantine checking at the border.

KI/

News Code 152259

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