LAHORE – As the winter turns cold, the prices of dry fruits are skyrocketing, registering an increase of 30 to 40 percent as compared to the rates of last year.
Moreover, a random survey of various city markets conducted by The Nation revealed that shopkeepers and vendors were charging inflated rates for dry fruits and there is no criterion to fix prices, since every market and super store has its own rate in various localities. The same item with same quality was being sold with a difference of Rs300-Rs1,000 per kg in different stores in the same city.
Prices of dry fruits including almond, pine-nut and pistachio are skyrocketing as these things are the peak selling items in winter. Dry fruits are now beyond the reach of a common man including the middle class.
This year, pine-nut is being sold in various city markets at Rs2,600 to Rs3,200 per kilogram, pistachio with and without shell at Rs1,400-1,800 per kg and Rs2200-2600, respectively and cashew nuts Rs1,400-2,400. The varieties of almonds without shell were available in the range of Rs1,200 to Rs1,450; walnuts with and without shell at Rs800 per kg and at Rs1,900-2,200 per kg respectively, dried dates at Rs200 to Rs600 per kg and peanuts at Rs200-350 per kg.
Last year, the items were sold at significantly lower rates. Almonds were sold between Rs800-1200 per kg, walnuts between Rs600 and 800 per kg, pistachios between Rs1000 and 1200 per kg, peanuts between Rs 200 and 300 per kg, cashew nuts between Rs800 and Rs900 per kg while pine nuts were sold between Rs1,100 and Rs1,300 per kg.
Dealers of Akbari Mandi, the wholesale market of the provincial capital, observed that the shift in the weather conditions had not augmented the sale of dry fruits as compared to previous years. The raise in prices is due to heavy transport charges as well as export of dry fruits, they claimed.
Retailers said that they got these fruits at high rates from wholesalers. However, another dry fruit vendor said that with the fall of temperature in city demand for dry fruits had sharply increased and prices had also shot up due to high demand.
He said that wholesalers store the dry fruits, which cause the shortage of the items in the market and thereby leads to increase in prices. “There is no check and balance of any commodity in wholesale market.”
Consumers complained that the shopkeepers were charging the public at exorbitant rates, demanding the authorities to evolve a mechanism to control the prices of such items. Buyers complained that prices of dry fruits this year were high and becoming out of their reach. “The government should take action against exorbitant profit rates of dry fruit dealers.”
Source: The Nation –Abdul Wakeel