March 11, 2019: Tomato price in local markets has witnessed sharp surge for the last several weeks, which has put an extra burden on daily kitchen budget as well as swelled the inflation rate.
The tomato price has witnessed up to 200 percent increase during the period under review in retail markets and people were forced to buy the commodity at Rs160-170 per kg to meet their daily requirements.
While comparing the prices of the commodity with the same period of last years, it was revealed that the tomato price was varying from Rs50-60 per kg at that time, however it witnessed a sharp increase in its price about a month ago.
Meanwhile, commenting on the situation, Commissioner Minor Crops and Deputy Food Security Commissioner in the Ministry of National Food Security and Research Dr Wasim-ul-Hassan said that the price variation was observed due to demand and supply gap of the commodity.
He said that the price of the commodity would start stabilizing and entered to normal range during next 10 to 14 days as the tomato crop from the Punjab province would start arriving in local markets and help in bridging the gap in demand and supply.
The recent price hike was purely due to widening gap between demand and supply of the commodity and there was no other factor which was attributed with price spike like ban from India on its tomato exports to Pakistan.
He categorically cleared that Pakistan was neither depending nor importing tomato from India and it was fulfilling its needs from its home grown crops as it was more than sufficient for realizing the domestic requirements.
The other reason, he said, behind recent tomato price jack up was the seasonal variations and gap which occurred due to consecutive spell of rains and chilled weather, which had resulted in delay in crop reaping in the Punjab province.
He said that recently the crop was coming from Thatta and Badin districts of the Sindh province and by end of this month, the tomato form Punjab would start arriving and supply would continue till June and then the supply cycle would shift to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa which would continue by September, later the crop from Balochistan would start arriving and remained the end of the year.
The Commissioner Minor Crops said that surplus crop output was expected during current season as the tomato had been cultivated over 66.8 thousand hectares across the country.
According to provisional data, tomato had been cultivated over 8.3 thousand hectares in Punjab with an estimated production of 115.3 thousand tons, in Sindh it had been cultivated over 28.5 thousand hectares to take output of 210.3 thousand tons and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa 13.4 thousand hectares to produce about 127.6 thousand tons, he added.
He further said that tomato had been cultivated over 12.6 thousand hectares to achieve 140 thousand tons of the commodity.