Trade with India through Wagah border can be cost-effective for Pakistan: Sources

Due to the recent flooding, acres of tomato and onion crops have been destroyed.

Due to the recent flooding, acres of tomato and onion crops have been destroyed. This has pursued the country to contemplate importing vegetables from India through the Wagah border.

The destruction has led to the prices in the domestic market reaching an all-time high, as onions come from Balochistan and Sindh, while Tomatoes are produced in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. According to a source in the Ministry of Food Security, the sowing of the second crop of onions and tomatoes was about to start.

However, the procedure has been delayed, and the standing crop from the first sowing has also been damaged. Between April and June, the supply of tomatoes normally comes from Punjab.

Import from Afghanistan and Iran

The Pakistani government had allowed the import of tomatoes and onions from Iran and Afghanistan to meet the demand in the domestic market.

Indian imports from Pakistan stood at $317.35 million from 2020 to 2021. A Chandigarh-based journalist and blogger Chanchal M S Bedi told news sources that Pakistani importers trade with India through Dubai. Currently, the retail price of onion in Chandigarh, near the Wagah border, was Rs69 per kg, meanwhile, potatoes stood at Rs69 per kg and tomatoes at Rs83 per kg.

Mr Chanchal also said that in case of bulk purchases, these prices would be much lower. The crops were in abundance in India this season and could be exported easily through the Wagah border. Pakistan could also save foreign exchange by allowing direct import with lesser cost than sourcing through a third country. A direct import of vegetables through Wagah would be affordable, and also improve the supply in the domestic market, which is a time of the need at the moment.

Source: Dawn

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