Daily Times - Leading News Resource of Pakistan - Meeting domestic requirements

Published: March 29, 2013

1,170 metric tonnes onion arrives at Karachi Port

By Tanveer Sher 

KARACHI: Around 90 onion-laden containers weighing 1,170 metric tonnes have been imported from India and reached the Karachi Port to cater to the domestic requirement, it was learnt on Thursday. 
It may be recalled here that Sindh’s onion crop has finished during the current month, thus creating a shortage of the commodity in the local market pushing its rates beyond the buying capacity of a large number of buyers hailing from the lower segment of the population 
Sindh caters to domestic requirement for more than five months from November to March and during this period, substantial export of onion also helps the country earn invaluable foreign exchange. 
The traditional onion-growing areas of Sindh includes Tando Allayar, Nasarpur, Matiari, Hyderabad, Hala, Mirpurkhas, Badin and Thana Bola Khan, which helps stabilise prices of the onion for five months period. The onion produced in these areas is famous worldwide for its fine quality and nourishment and always fetches big export orders annually thus earning precious foreign exchange. 
However, immediately after the end of the onion crop in March, there stand no proper arrangements anywhere across the country to store the commodity, which is regarded as the most perishable item. As a consequence every year consumers face its shortage. 
Extreme shortage of one of the most demanding vegetables of every kitchen pushed its price higher.
Talking to Daily Times, All Pakistan Vegetable and Fruit Exporter Association Chairman Waheed Ahmad explaining reasons for the import of one of the most essential kitchen items, blamed shortage of onion like other commodities from time to time owing to lack of planning by the government to ensure its proper storage. 
During the bumper crop season, hardly any effort was witnessed by the government to make arrangements for prolonged storage of the onion. 
He said on Wednesday around 90 onion-laden containers imported from India were offloaded at Karachi Port from where they would be transported via big trawlers to all parts of the country.
During the next one month a large number of containers are expected to arrive at Karachi Port from India to further cater to the domestic requirements.
Similarly, Indian onion is also arriving in bulk in Lahore via Wagah Border from where they are transported to upcountry.
The import from India would continue up to April when Balochistan crop would be available for domestic consumption, which would help bring down substantially its prices in the wholesale and retail markets.
Replying to a query regarding current prices of the onion, Ahmad said its wholesale rates currently stand at Rs 1,700 to Rs 1,800 per 40 kilogrammes (kgs), which is far higher as compared to one month’s old rates of Rs 1,200 per 40 kgs. A leading retailer of Gol Market Nazimabad informed the scribe that as a consequence constant high price of onion, its demand has plunged sharply which he attributed due to shrinking buying powers of a majority of customers.