Pajhwok Afghan News

Tomato prices surge fourfold in a month in Kabul

KABUL (Pajhwok): The price of tomato has jumped fourfold in the last one month in Kabul as the crop could not be kept in cold storages due to absence of the facility in winter.

A month ago, the price of seven kilograms of tomato in Kabul was around 40 afghanis, but now it has reached more than 170 afghanis.

Agriculture officials say there is currently no cold storages available in the country to store tomato. Tomato price jumped fourfold in Kabul with the arrival of autumn.

KhwajahSubhanalla, a vegetable and fruit market vendor in TahyaMaskan area of Kabul, told Pajhwok Afghan News that a month ago he was selling seven kilograms of tomato for up to 30 afghanis, but now as the autumn ends, the price jumped to 170 afghanis.

About the reason of increased price of the crop, he said that there were no cold storages to preserve the key kitchen vegetable.

There is enough tomato imported from Iran in the market, but it is pricey because traders pay tax and transportation costs, he said.

Seven kilograms of Iranian tomato is sold in Kabul markets for 250 afgahnis, he added.

SafauddinNizami, another tomato seller in Kabul, also said that most of domestically produced tomato decayed due to absence of cold storages.

He said the staple vegetable was grown in many provinces of the country and traders would not need to import it from abroad if cold storages were made available in all provinces.

Fazl Ahmad, a farmer from Logar province, said he was associated with farming for the past 15 years and he used to grow tomato on 2.5 acres of land annually.

He said August and September was the peak season of tomato and even exceeded the need of the whole country.

Tomato exports dropped in these two months this year due to political changes in the country and absence of cold storages, he added.

Wasiullah, a resident of Shirgar village of the capital of Laghman province complained about absence of cold storages and said that most of their crops decayed due to lack of storage facility.

He said that he collected 3.5 tons of tomato from his farm this year, but more than 700 kilograms of the crop decayed due to absence of cold storage.

He asked the government to create cold storages for farmers so there would be no need for importing foreign products in addition of economically helping farmers.

MulaviMesbahuddinMustaeen, spokesman of the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock (MAIL), said fresh storage of tomato was hard and vegetable was sold at low price during its season due to its high availability.

He said that the reason of surging price of tomato in winter was due to its imports from foreign country.

Mustaeen said the MAIL has directed farmers to dry crops that could not be kept fresh for a long time.

He said that cold storages were available for some vegetables such as onion, potato and some fruits but there was no such facility present for tomato.

Mds/ma

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