LAHORE - The prices of most of vegetables remained up due to short supply as the import of vegetables including tomato has been reduced sharply. It is to be noted that bilateral trade between Pakistan and India has felt the heat of mounting tension between the two arch rivals, as the cross-border movement of truckloads, mostly consisted of vegetables, through Wagah-Attari route has nosedived.

According to the Pakistan Customs officials, the number of trucks crossing over from India has reduced significantly to just 7-10 from the normal routine of 150 truckloads due to non-tariff barriers from Pakistan including security high alert, Customs checking, Rangers inspection and close investigation of phytosanitary quarantine department.

Market sources said that now Pakistan has put non-tariff barriers in place for Indian exporters, as it is vigorously involving phytosanitary quarantine department to check the quality of food items coming from India.

“Most of the consignments are rejected and wasted at the border and dozens of shipments forced to return back after health related checking.” These measures have been adopted by the security as well as other agencies amidst mounting tension between the two neighbours, an importer of fruits and vegetables claimed, who did not want his name to be mentioned.

Now after restricted import of vegetables shortage of several items were recorded even in weekly Sunday bazars of the city where wrong price fixation issue also compeled the vendors to not sell various vegetables there.

This week again the vendors sold rainwater damaged substandard vegetables and fruits at higher rates. None of the vegetable and fruit was sold at the official rate issued by the market committee through price list.

The rains have caused more than 50 percent increase in wholesale prices of some vegetables and fruits, as before the heavy rainfall, tomato was available in the range of Rs40-50 which has reached at about Rs100 a kg in some localities. The spinach which was being sold at Rs10 a kilogram in the wholesale market before monsoon season has suddenly jumped to Rs40 per kilogram. The current per-kg rate of coriander in the market is Rs30 which before the rainfall was Rs10 per coriander. The price of green chilli before the rains was Rs60-70 which has swelled to Rs120 a kilo. Likewise, a massive increase was observed in the price of gourd as it jumped to Rs80 from Rs50 per kilo. The price of lady’s finger at Sabzi Mandi before the rains was at Rs40/kg but it is currently being sold at Rs60/kg. The price of bitter gourd was Rs40/kg earlier, which has swelled to Rs60/kg. Moreover, cucumber which was being sold at Rs30/kg before the rains, is now being sold at Rs50/kg. The price of brinjal before the rain devastation was selling at Rs30/kg and now it is being sold at Rs60-70/kg.

Market sources said that prices of veggies are expected to rise more if vegetable supplies gets affected more from the recent flood and rains in Sindh and Punjab.

It would take another one month to bridge the gap between the demand and supply of some vegetables and fruits.