Increase in dry fruits’ demand raises prices by 35 percent
08 December, 2009
KARACHI: In the wake of upsurge in the demand of dry fruits in Karachi amid winter season, a marked increase in prices of majority of the winter products from 30 to 35 percent was witnessed in the wholesale and retail markets of Karachi affecting buying power of consumers.
The dry fruits always under high demand during winter season include almonds, walnuts, peanuts, pistachios, dried figs, chilghozay and cashew nut. It became evident during a visit to popular retail and wholesale markets of Karachi that steep increase in prices of almost all dry fruits had deprived majority of the buyers from enjoying dry fruits which are represent the starting of winter season.
The increase in prices of dry fruits had an adverse impact on population belonging from the lower strata which was already reeling under spiral increase in prices of essential commodities during the last one year, as claimed by traders and wholesalers of dry fruits in the Judia Bazar and other city markets.
The consumption of dry fruits usually surge by 50 percent in between November to February every year as against the rest of the months. The increase in import of these dry fruits also depends on the wedding season, which is traditionally between the lunar months of Shawaal and Zilhaj featuring Eidul Fitr and Eidul Azha respectively.
Dry fruits are largely used in weddings, sweet dishes and traditional sweets and halwas which is in line with our culture, and they constitute an integral part of the weddings in form of traditional exchange of sweets, fruits and dry fruits between families.
Moreover, dry fruits such as almonds, pistachios, walnuts, cashew, prunes, peanuts, dried apricots, dates, and coconuts are the most commonly eaten dry fruits in these festive occasions.
"However, the massive upheaval in their rates during the last one year have resulted in enormous decline in their demands even during the ongoing marriage season and only handful of buyers can be seen making heavy purchases for different varieties of dry fruits during the current winter season," claimed by a leading dealer at Jodia Bazar while replying to a query of the scribe.
An office bearer of the Pakistan Commodities Importers Association told Our Sources that every year almond and peanut are imported more than other dry fruits due to higher consumption.
According to the survey of dry fruits wholesale market at Jodia Bazaar, the most demanded items are peanuts costing Rs 120 to Rs 140 per kg, dry dates Rs 80 to Rs 120 per kg depending on its quality, almond without shell Rs 700 to Rs 800 per kg, walnuts with shell Rs 170 to Rs 200 per kg, chilghozay Rs 900 per kg, Kaju Rs 700 per kg to Rs 900 per kg, and dried figs on rope for Rs 180 to Rs 200 per kg.
The aforementioned dry fruits were priced previous year as less than 30 to 35 percent which had enabled ordinary people to visit the wholesale markets and make purchases of their choice but the situation has witnessed a steep downhill with very few buyers daring to visit the market and making substantial buying.
Replying to another question, he said dry fruits are cultivated in Quetta, Chaman, Sukkur, Changa Manga, Multan, Swat and a number of districts of Punjab and NWFP.
However, the production of dry fruits falls short of demand therefore they are imported from Afghanistan, Iran and India. US, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, China and Turkey are the secondary sources of dry fruit imports in Pakistan.