Prices of winter vegetables dip as summer season approaches

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—Summer vegetables have somehow disappeared from the makeshift Sunday bazaars

LAHORE: A considerable drop in the otherwise skyrocketing prices of tomato and onion has provided relief to consumers. Until recently, the prices of these two essential perishable commodities were recorded at Rs 150 per kg and Rs 100 per kg respectively in the last six months, but the prices of the same have witnessed a rapid decline to Rs 24 per kg and Rs 14 per kg in Sunday bazaars.

According to sellers, better production of tomato and onion, along with the arrival of the new crop from Punjab, were the major reasons for the drastic decline witnessed in the prices of these commodities. The prices of these commodities were further lowered in the wholesale market and were selling at Rs 10-15 per kg. Meanwhile, the potato was selling for below Rs 25 per kg as a good production of the crop had reduced its price in the market.

On the other hand, winter vegetables, such as green peas, cauliflower, carrot, green chilli and leafy vegetables were also being sold at low prices. Astonishingly, summer vegetables have somehow disappeared from the markets despite the onset of the summer season in the country.

Bitter gourd and ladyfinger were nowhere to be found in the Shadman Sunday bazaar but were being sold outside the bazaar at Rs 100 to 120 per kg. Though the vendors said that the high prices of these commodities in the wholesale market were unfair, but low price fixation by the city district administration discouraged them from moving their stalls inside the bazaar.

“We cannot sell summer vegetables at a loss. The administration should think before fixing prices,” vendor Muhammad Ramzan said.

The vendors avoided bringing essential items to the weekly makeshift markets due to price fixation issue. The average price of vegetables was Rs 15 to Rs 20 per kg at the Shadman Sunday bazaar as compared to Rs 30 per kg a fortnight ago, except for brinjal. The brinjal was selling at Rs 40 per kg and its quality was below the fixed standards.

Green peas were being sold at Rs 25 per kg in the retail market, while the same was being sold at Rs 15 to 20 per kg in the wholesale market.

The price of cauliflower was Rs 15 to Rs 20 per kg and green chillis had touched Rs 80 per kg. Leafy vegetables like coriander, spinach and fenugreek leaves were being sold at Rs 15 to Rs 20 per kg in the retail market. Cauliflower was present at almost all stalls at the Sunday bazaar. Radish was nowhere to be seen in the bazaar. The wholesale rate of garlic had also witnessed a decrease.

Market Committee Inspector Muhamad Riaz said that excess production of the winter crop in Punjab was the main reason behind the lower rates of vegetables in the market. However, he said that prices of tomato would rise in the coming days because its cultivation in Punjab was nearing its end, after which the fruit would be brought to the city from other provinces.

Meanwhile, exchange of harsh words and quarrelling incidents among consumers and vendors were witnessed at some places in the weekly bazaars, while the city administration did not play its role to address this issue. In addition, the quality of vital commodities in the Sunday bazaar was substandard while good quality items were only being sold at the entrance gate of the bazaar without the intervention of the city administration.