KARACHI: The devastation of crops due to floods in Balochistan and Sindh has resulted in shortage of vegetables in Karachi taking prices to new heights as rate of tomato has gone up to Rs480 per kilo and onion price has reached up to Rs200kg in city markets.

In third week of this month, onion and tomatoes were available at Rs60-90 and Rs110-150 per kg, respectively, amid looming fear of flooding based on heavy rain forecasts.

A customer told Dawn that one kilogram of tomatoes was available at Rs480 at a leading superstore in Gulshan-i-Iqbal on Sunday evening.

From July onwards vegetables were in short supply from Balochistan and Sindh to city markets mainly due to damages to road infrastructure caused by heavy rains.

One kg of onion now costs Rs200; flood destroys standing crops in Sindh, Balochistan

Recently, devastating floods in both the provinces have further damaged the supply situation adding more price pressure on consumers.

Retailers, who had lifted stocks at old rates a few days ago, are now cashing in on the situation.

The skyrocketing inflation has also hit consumers who are worried about further price hike fearing severe shortages of vegetables, especially onion and tomato which are essential cooking ingredients, next month.

Most consumers have also reduced their daily purchases because to skyrocketing prices of various commodities.

Only potato is relatively within the reach of the common man’s purchasing power, as it is selling at Rs50-60 per kg.

The rates of all other vegetables are already on fire before cooking in household kitchens.

Other vegetables rates

The price of capsicum, ridge gourd and bottle gourd is Rs320 per kg, Rs200 and Rs160 respectively while cabbage is selling at Rs240 per kg. Cucumber costs around Rs200 per kg. One bunch of green coriander and mint are available at Rs30. Ladyfinger is selling at Rs250-320 per kg.

President of Falahi Anjuman Wholesale Vegetable Market Superhighway Mandi, Haji Shahjehan said the arrival of tomato and onion from Balochistan had confined to only 10 per cent while only 30pc green vegetables of Sindh were finding way into the wholesale market due to crop losses, standing flood water in fields and huge damage to roads leading to Karachi from Balochistan areas.

A grower in Surab district, Union Council Mara, Balochistan, Abdul Hameed claimed that only 10pc of onion and tomato were reaching Karachi because many growers had lost their 90pc standing crops due to heavy rains and floods.

He said growers were also struggling to build their houses which had been washed away by heavy floods and rains.

“We do not have any support in rebuilding houses nor getting any incentive for crops revival,” Mr Hameed added while referring to high input costs of urea and di-ammonium phosphate (DAP) urea bag, which is selling at Rs2,400 and Rs12,000 per 50kg bag as compared to last year’s Rs1,780 and Rs6,000 followed by huge increase in labour rates and transportation charges of goods.

A vegetable grower in Nagarparkar and Tondo Allahyar in Sindh, Vicky Jaipal said rains and floods had destroyed 75pc of crops of vegetables in many producing areas of Sindh and only 25pc were left which were being transported to Karachi.

He said growers were waiting for drying up of land in many areas followed by efforts in rebuilding their houses.

The new crop of onion and tomato usually arrives in September to October. However, some growers are trying a second attempt at growing new seeds but the crops are feared to get delayed.

He said import of tomato and onion from neighbouring countries can help resolve any serious food crisis.

Published in Dawn, August 29th, 2022

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