LAHORE: The vegetable and fruit prices in Lahore have skyrocketed following the blockade of the entry and exit points of the city and the forcible closure of markets by the protestors of Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP).
A wholesale trader Muhammad Siddique said that the market has been practically closed for vegetables, as trucks carrying the commodity have been stuck in the blockades and the supplies arriving from Punjab, Sindh and Balochistan have not been able to reach Lahore while the city remains cut off from the rest of the country.
Prices of vegetables such as green peas, cauliflowers, carrots, green chillies and leafy vegetables have increased in the city. “We are not to be blamed for the price-hike. When we cannot get a supply, we cannot lower prices,” Siddique said.
The prices of green peas in the retail market rose to Rs170 from between Rs100 and Rs120 from a fortnight ago. Wholesale markets sold cauliflowers for Rs50 per kg while retailers sold them for a price as high as Rs70 per kg. The price of green chillies has gone up to Rs100 per kg, or Rs400 per five kilogrammes, in the wholesale market, while that of leafy vegetables like coriander, spinach and fenugreek (methi) have risen up to between Rs50 and Rs60 per kg.
Meanwhile, the prices of tomatoes and onions, which are a staple in almost every kitchen, skyrocketed further up in the city’s retail market. Tomatoes were sold at Rs200 per kg, while onions bore a price tag of Rs100 per kg.
The average price of vegetables at the Shadman Sunday bazar was Rs60 this week. Last week, the vegetables’ average price had been Rs40.
Moreover, this week’s Sunday market witnessed a much lower number of buyers as compared to other weeks as life in the provincial capital remained at a standstill due to the ongoing protest.
Prices of fruits also remained high in the retail market. Speaking to Pakistan Today, vendor Ashfaq Khan said that the prices of fruits on Sunday were double of what they had been on Saturday morning at the wholesale market.
He added that it had been extremely difficult for him to get to the market in the morning. “Considering today’s situation, I fear that I may not be able to sell fruits from Monday onwards. I am worried about the bread and butter for my children, but what can I do in the situation? The government should do something to resolve the situation as soon as possible.”
Apples in the market on Sunday were selling at Rs 200 per kg; pomegranates at Rs 250 per kg; oranges (fruiter) at Rs150 per dozen; bananas between Rs 80 and 100 per dozen while guavas sold for prices between Rs 100 and Rs 120 per dozen.
Market Committee Inspector Riaz Bhatti said that prices of vegetables increased as a result of the dip in supply due to protests of religious parties in all parts of the country. “Fruit and vegetable trucks have failed to deliver fruits and vegetables in the wholesale market,” he said, adding that customers who bought their previous week’s vegetables for Rs300 had now to spend up to Rs500 for the same purchases.
He further said that the market committee and district administration was unable to control the prices as they could not do anything to improve the supply. “It is the job of the country’s top brass to improve the situation and open roads. As supply improves, the price will automatically reduce,” he commented.