KARACHI: The market crisis of perishable tomato crop is deepening as uncertainty prices is affecting both growers and consumers alike.
Tomato consumers say, they are forced to pay high prices due supply imbalances, while farmers suffer when imports are allowed for so called stabilizing the market prices. It is feared that tomato prices crisis would be permanent feature of Sindh’s agriculture economy.
Cultivation of the tomato crop is now difficult for small farmers particularly in Thatta district. Thatta being close to the metropolitan city Karachi has easy and cheap access to major consumer market.
There are many examples where following fall in prices the growers were compelled let the cattle graze tomato fields. At times growers pay picking and transport charges without earning anything.
Tomato in Sindh and remains available in the market almost round the year.
Sindh is the largest tomato-producing province since last three years. It had 34.5pc share in the country’s total tomato production (600,000 tonnes) followed by Punjab with 18.4pc as reported by Pakistan Bureau of Statistics.
The consumers suffer as prices go beyond their reach while farmers are at loss when rates plummet due to the vegetable’s import.
Crop pattern in different parts of the province is different. Lower Sindh area i.e in Mirpurkhas, Badin and Tando Mohammad Khan districts have early tomato cultivation and production. In Tando Allahyar, Matiari, Hyderabad which are middle area of the province, the crop is harvested in October while in Thatta harvest of the crop is by late Feb to April.