Just a few weeks ago onions and tomatoes were priced at Rs 25-30 per kg and Rs 50 per kg respectively. However, in no time these prices have shot up.
Onion prices soared up to Rs100/kg while tomatoes saw their prices shoot up to as much as Rs300/kg. Similar price rises were seen for other vegetables as well.
Hence, it is quite evident that the government has failed badly in trying to keep these prices stable.
Those controlling the prices of the vegetable market have ensured that the general public does not get eased off by burdening it with steep prices and at the same time, the farmer does not benefit either.
Onions in Sindh are almost ready for harvest, however, the import and smuggling of onions has made it difficult for farmers to ask for a fair price for their yield. This shows that these farmers are not the real manipulators and are being played by the price makers.
Meanwhile, government officials and profiteers are issuing blatant statements to the press and trying to mislead the public, making them think that prices have fallen down. Price controlling committees are to be blamed here for not keeping an eye on the price makers (wholesalers and retailers) thereby causing the people to be burdened with steep price tags on everyday vegetables.
On the other hand, local crop farmers are of the opinion that they cannot compete with Indian farmers unless the government supports them. Already, Sindh produces onions at different times of the year and if that harvest is to be profitable for the farmers then they need to be backed by the government.
Market Committee Secretary Nazar Hussain said, “We are continuously monitoring profiteers and hoarders at the time of fixing prices.” However, this claim seems far from believable if the current situation persists.
According to Hussain, the consumers are facing these high prices because of price variation in Sabzi Mandis.
The general consensus, according to different classes of consumers who spoke to a local news agency, is that the government is busy in its own schemes rather than paying attention to problems of the general public.
A citizen, Owais Ahmed, complained, “The price of tomato and onion cost more than vegetables brought to home daily. They are even costlier than fruits nowadays.”
“How can I afford to purchase 1-kilogram onion at Rs 100 while it was easily available at Rs30,” said Amna Pervez a housewife.