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Sindh seeks Fed a ban on tomato import and steps for onion export

KARACHI: The Sindh government has wrote a letter to the federal government seeking a ban on import of tomatoes and steps for export of onion crop, ARY News reported on Thursday.

Sindh’s Agriculture Department in the letter said that Sindh produces most of the tomatoes and onion crops yield in Pakistan and the crops have ripe for harvest.

“Sindh is expected to achieve a good yield of tomatoes and onion this year,” Sindh’s Agriculture Minister Ismail Rahu said.

“The farmers could not receive an appropriate price of these crops due to import of tomatoes and a ban on export of onions,” Rahu stated. “They have also protested in Sindh against import of tomatoes,” the minister said.

“Sindh cultivated onion crop on 57,900 hectares in year 2019-20 and produced 782,140 metric tonnes of onions, while the crop has cultivated at 58,200 hectares this year,” the letter wrote to the federal authorities read.

“Sindh cultivated tomatoes on 22,542 hectares in year 2019-20 and produced 164,658 metric tonnes of the crop, while the crop has been cultivated at 30,000 hectares this year,” the letter further read.

“The farmers are failing to get the production costs of crops due to inappropriate federal policies,” according to the letter.

The province has demanded of the federal authorities to take steps for a ban on import of tomatoes, while the ministries of commerce and the food security should grant permission for export of the excessive onion yield.

It is to be mentioned here that the federal cabinet had banned export of onions last year after a decision of the Economic Coordination Committee.

It is pertinent to mention here that the price of tomatoes were soared to exorbitant rates of above 400 rupees per KG in year 2019 in Karachi.

A cash crop, tomatoes provide high yields and ready for harvest in a relatively short time. But most growers prefer not to cultivate the crop more than once a year.

Tomatoes can be sown twice a year in July-August with harvest in November-December, and in January-February with harvest in March-April. But growers avoid the crop the second time around as they don’t expect good market rates due to extensive tomato crop cultivation in different parts of Pakistan.

According to a 2017 report the country’s annual tomato production was 543,160 tonnes of which Sindh, the biggest contributor, grows 35 per cent of the yield. Balochistan produces 27pc of the crop, Punjab 19pc and KP contributes 16pc of the vegetable production.

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