The government is in a process to decide importing onions and tomatoes from Iran and Afghanistan to meet the local demand and ensure availability and price stability. The recent floods have drastically hit the vegetables supply in local market with rates doubled overnight.
A proposal would be submitted to the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet to allow the waiver of levies and duties on the import of tomatoes and onions so that the items are available in the market at a reduced price.
These decisions were taken in a meeting held under the chairmanship of Federal Minister for Commerce Naveed Qamar to assess the availability of tomatoes and onion in the country.
During the meeting, it was discussed that the country will face a shortage of tomatoes and onions in the next three months. The recent floods have heavily damaged the crops resulting in a price hike and a shortage of these commodities.
The participants agreed in the meeting that the import of tomatoes and onions will help to stabilize the commodities prices and will ensure availability in the market. In order to further facilitate the import of onions and tomatoes, the Ministry of Commerce, Ministry of National Food Security and Research and FBR will work together. Furthermore, they will monitor the situation daily to ensure the supply of the commodities to the market.
The meeting was apprised that the private sector is a supplier, as well as an importer of the two commodities.
Furthermore, a proposal to the Economic Coordination Committee will be tabled to allow a waiver of levies and duties on the import of tomatoes and onion, so that the items are available in the market at a reduced price.
It was discussed in the meeting that imports from Iran and Afghanistan will have minimal impact on the precious foreign exchange because of special arrangements on trade with these countries.
Federal Minister for Commerce Naveed Qamar said that immediate steps should be taken to ensure the availability of tomatoes and onions to the consumer, while every effort should be made to stabilize their prices.
Ministry of Commerce through Commercial Counsellors and Trade Attachés are in contact with the foreign governments abroad in order to make the arrangements in the shortest time. Ministry of National Food Security and Research, in coordination with all stakeholders, will continue to monitor the food security situation in the country and will take steps to ensure food availability in the country.