DERA GHAZI KHAN-With winter season in full swing, the demand for dried fruit especially peanut is now at their peak, and their prices have shot up in the Dera Ghazi Khan city.

A survey conducted at various city markets by The Nation revealed that shopkeepers and dried fruit vendors were overcharging the buyers as the price control magistrates have no concerns about the hike.

There is no official monitoring system available for controlling the prices of these products. The prices have registered significant increase this winter as compared to the previous years. The poor seem helpless to buy costly dried fruit like fig, pistachio, walnuts, cashew nut, almond, pine nut, and raisins in the winter.

According to the dealers at Kalma Chowk and Faridi Bazaar, the demand for dried fruit will further rise in the coming days as more rains or cold in the city are expected. A retail dealer Tanzeelur Rehman said there is a sharp increase in the sale of pine nuts, cashew nuts, almonds and pistachios, due to winter. The low income people buy peanut, sweets, Chikky and mix dry fruit for their family.

Tanzeel said that besides local varieties dried fruit imported from China, India, Iran, US, Australia and Afghanistan are also available in the market. He said that Afghani pine nuts are being sold between Rs2,400 to Rs3,000 per kg. American almonds are being sold between Rs1,000 to Rs1,200 per kg, similarly, the price of Irani pistachio has risen to Rs1,200 per kg and Afghani fig price is Rs500 per kg. Kashmiri walnut rate is Rs350 per kg, American walnut price rate is Rs500 and Gilgit-Baltistan walnut is being sold at Rs400 per kg.

Another dealer Haroon said that local peanuts of Talagang, Chakwal, Parachinar and Layyah are being sold at range of Rs240 to Rs280 per kg. Price of Till Shakery of DG Khan is Rs320 per kg. Mix fruit are being sold at Rs240 to Rs260 per kg.

Talking to The Nation, Ghazi Khan Medical College Principal Dr Shah Zaman Malik highlighted that dry fruit are very useful for health in winter.

Zaman said dried fruit are rich in carbohydrates and low in fat. They are sources of fiber, vitamins, and minerals, and can boost fiber and nutrient intake and supply the human body with large amounts of antioxidants. These are also high in sugar and calories, and can cause problems when eaten in excess, he said. For this reason, dried fruit should only be eaten in small amounts, preferably along with other nutritious foods, he stressed.