ISLAMABAD            -            Keeping in view the fluctuation in prices of food commodities, the ministry of national food security and research has established Essential Food Commodity Monitoring Cell to ensure sustainability in prices and demand and supply of fruits, vegetables and other food products.

Initially the cell will look into production, supply and demand situation of 15 crops by collecting data of those crops and in case of possible shortage of any commodity, the cell will warn the concerned sections six months before the time of production,” Chairman Pakistan Agriculture Research Council (PARC) Dr Muhammad Azeem Khan said here at a panel interview with APP.

He said the monitoring of crops’ situation would help ensuring sustainability of production and prices of the commodities.He said the cell would work in collaboration with various institutions concerned including Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission to collect data of the crops.

He said the government was also planning to expand the scope of the cell and convert it into an Authority. Azeem Khan said recent hike in tomato prices was due to lack of coordination and monitoring of the crops which created shortage in the market.

However he informed that now there was a sufficient supply of the commodity and there would be smooth and extra supply of tomato in coming months. The PARC chairman said the Council was imparting training to the farmers about latest ways of tomato farming.

He said although investment in climbing tomato plants farming was high but return in such technology was also high as per acre investment was around Rs700,000 while in return the farmers could earn more than Rs2 million.