Compared to daily normal supply of 700 to 800 trucks, the number of such vehicles has nose-dived to the level of 250 to 300 manifesting the dismal situation regarding supply of vegetables and fruits to the largest SubziMandi of the country situated along Super Highway.
Shahjahan did not rule out further increases in vegetable prices in coming days ahead if the weather situation did not improve and the supply of vegetable to Karachi continued dwindling down, which may spell financial hardship for an overwhelming segment of the population, which can hardly afford now the exorbitant rates of vegetables.
He was also of the view that if the situation did not improve, vegetable will have to be imported in coming days from India and other countries.
Not only vegetables but fruits and other food items in country have increased considerably due to floods, while citizens and traders fear further rise in the inflation rate.
Among fruits, apples were available between Rs 80 and Rs 120 per kilogram, bananas Rs 40 and Rs 60 a dozen, guava Rs 50 and Rs 80, grapes Rs 100 and Rs 160 kg, pomegranate Rs 140 and Rs 200 and pear Rs 50 and Rs 80 per kg. The prices of fruits used in fruit chats or cream chats may further increase in coming days, said Riaz Kareem, a vendor in the fruit market.
He said the areas of fruit production had been adversely affected by flood, while their transportation had also been affected, as many railway bridges and roads had been washed away.
The prices of dry milk of various brands had also increased during the last week. This week, the demand of dry milk and packaged milk remained high in the market, as these items were being supplied in bulk to the flood-hit area as part of relief goods.
However, similar to last week, the price of sugar remained almost stable in the city. The sugar rate currently hovering at Rs 75 per kg. Price of the 50-kg bag remained also stable.
ShaziaAnwaar, a housewife, said it had become difficult for her and many other middle-class women to run their kitchens due to a sudden increase in the prices of vegetable and other items. “The government must take some concrete step to stop further price escalation in coming days,” she said.
Riaz further said that rains and floods had affected vegetables, fruits and other crops badly. He said fruits and vegetables are very sensitive and excessive water caused instant damage to them.
Hameed Ali, a crops expert, said although exact estimates could be given after the flooded areas were cleared, roughly the loss to Pakistani crops may be in billions of rupees.
He said that flood and transportation were the main cause of a hike in the prices of fruits and vegetables in the city’s markets.