LAHORE: Punjab Food Minister, Bilal Yaseen, while chairing a meeting of the cabinet committee on price control noted that local farmers have been strongly encouraged on banning imports of Indian vegetables and Pakistan has saved Rs10 billion from July to November for not importing tomatoes from the neighbouring country.
“This is a blessing in disguise”, he said. Encouraged by the government’s policy, cultivators of Sindh have sowed tomatoes in Rabi season too. Referring to the figures during the briefing by Punjab Agriculture Department (PAD), the provincial minister said that the ban on Indian imports has made a positive impact on local farmers.
“India was used to exporting low-quality potatoes to Pakistan, although Pakistani potatoes and onions are considered of good quality and have a worldwide demand,” he said. After an increase in supply from Sindh the prices of tomatoes in Punjab have gradually decreased; last year in December the wholesale rate of tomatoes was Rs58 per kg and now it is Rs59 per kg, he observed.
The cabinet committee agreed in principle with the suggestion made by MPA Abdul Rauf Mughal that wheat cultivators should be encouraged to cultivate edible crops too so that the burden of consumption on the foreign exchange on import of the same could be lightened.
Bilal Yaseen, while taking notice of the price hike of onions, has directed all deputy commissioners to activate price magistrates to ensure that there is no considerable difference in the wholesale and retail prices.