Catering to the huge demand owing to the crop loss due to floods,and lured by the high profits,Indian traders are exporting tomatoes by the truckloads to the Pakistan.
As per a conservative estimate,nearly 1,300 tonnes of tomato enters the neighbouring country through Attari-Wagah border in Amritsar daily,traders said.
The export of the vegetable,brought in from Delhi and Nashik,however,the traders claim have not affected the domestic supplies and neither has it pushed up the prices back home.
Nearly 80-90 trucks of tomatoes (each carrying about 16 tonnes) are crossing Attari-Wagah border every day, Rajdeep Singh Uppal,vice-president,Amritsar Export Chamber of Commerce said.
This has been happening for over two weeks,he said,adding that the trend is expected to continue till mid January.
Uppal added that the rush of tomatoes to Pakistan is triggered by relatively high prices there because of damage to the crop due to floods in the key tomato producing Sindh region.
However,Gurdeep Singh Nagra,a member of Jalandhar Vegetable Market,blamed the high price of tomatoes in the Indian markets on the said supply to Pakistan. Tomatoes are selling at Rs 35 per kg in the domestic retail market. It was constant at Rs 20-25 a kg till last week,he added.
However,Uppal said it was wrong to blame the export for high price of tomatoes. He said the going rate of the vegetable had remained high this year.
However some traders said that the Indian tomato is selling between Rs 25-30 (Indian currency) a kg in Pakistan,even as it costs Rs 12-20 in the Indian wholesale markets.
To this,Uppal said Indian tomato is selling for around USD 350-400 (Rs 17,850-Rs 20,400) per tonne in Pakistan.
Ajit Shah,president of Mumbai based agriculture export association said around 100-125 tonnes of tomatoes from Nashik is finding its way to Pakistan by road through Wagah.
R P Gupta,director,NHRDF (established by agri- cooperative Nafed for research and improving productivity of agri crops) said tomato production reaches a high level in the Nashik district of Maharashtra between September and October. It is also the only region during the period to produce the staple vegetable.
Key tomatoes producing regions like Nashik,Pune and Ahmadnagar provide the supplies to the entire northern region including Delhi during the period,Gupta said.
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