KARACHI: Exporters of fresh produce, particularly perishable goods suffered losses running into millions of rupees, as shipments were delayed due to suspension of business activities in Karachi and other cities of Sindh on Saturday, a leading exporter.
On Saturday, markets remained closed and transport suspended over protest of Karachi Tajir Ittehad supported by Muttahida Qaumi Movement against increase of extortion in the city.
“Loss is in millions,” Pakistan Fruits and Vegetables Exporters, Importers and Merchants Association co-chairman Waheed Ahmed told The News.
Ahmed said that disruption of export shipments affects the reputation of Pakistan in other countries as well. “You should close the local business in protest, but do not disturb exports,” he said.
“If strikes were to hinder foreign shipments, we could lose the export market,” he said. Shipping lines do not wait for the betterment of situation. “Perishable vegetable items suffer the most,” he said.
Transport from market to the port was also suspended besides low presence of workers. “Around 80 percent activity at wholesale market was also suspended,” said one exporter.
One trader and wholesale vegetable and fruit market (Sabzi Mandi) said that growers and traders suffered a loss of over Rs80 million at wholesale vegetable market on Saturday, as business declined by over 60 percent under tense situation in the city.
Nearly, 800 trucks of fruits and vegetables reach the market daily. Business of more than 400 trucks was affected during such strikes. Each truckload of fresh vegetables at an average is worth around Rs200,000.
Welfare Association Wholesale Vegetable Market President Haji Shahjahan told The News that business was almost shut at the wholesale vegetable market but few busses carrying perishable vegetables entered in the market.
Mostly, prices of those items declined, whose life was very short due to unavailability of storages. Coriander, mint, and spinach prices declined by more than 50 percent, as their age is less than 24 hours, he said.
The vegetable prices would rebound quickly as soon as situation normalises, but the market would need a whole week to recover from the impact of single day closure. “Growers, brokers, taders, and wholesalers everyone suffered losses due to market closure,” he said. Shahjahan said that they had also received demand notes few days back. “Robbers and extortionists move freely in the vegetable market, but the law enforcers take no action,” he said.