Here’s why customers are being overcharged despite low vegetable prices

Here’s why customers are being overcharged despite low vegetable prices

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KARACHI: Over the time wholesale prices of many vegetables, including tomato, onion, potato, have considerably decreased, many retailers are still defrauding consumers by overcharging.

An insistent increase in the diesel price from the third quarter of 2017 as a result has increased the transportation cost but did not impact the wholesale and retail prices because of an oversupply situation in various crops.

Diesel price has soared to Rs98.45 per litre — an increase of Rs21 per litre since Sept 2017.

Usually, two types of pushcart dealers are seen selling vegetables in various city areas. Some are those who change their business seasonally. They normally sell commodities below the rate being charged by permanent vegetable sellers on pushcarts.

Seasonal pushcart vendors are selling three kilograms of tomatoes at Rs50 compared to Rs20-30 per kilo charged by regular vegetable sellers.

In Sept 2017, consumers had paid up to Rs250 for one kilogram of tomatoes.

Around 5kg potato is being sold at Rs100, while regular dealers are demanding Rs30 per kg.

Onion price is tagged at Rs30 per kg while the seasonal retailers sell 2.5-3 kg onion at Rs50.

Almost six months back, people had paid up to Rs120 for one kilogram of onion. Some retailers are also seen offering discounts on bulk buying.

Regular retailers said pushcart retailers were apparently procuring low-quality vegetables.

They said the sale of vegetables usually fell when prices drop at very low level. As a result, consumers purchased a greater quantity, which took additional time to consume. When prices are higher, consumers made limited purchases as per their daily consumption, they added.

Cabbage price varies between Rs20-50 per kg while cucumber price also hovers between Rs25-40 per kg.

Carrot is available at Rs30-40 per kg while some retailers are ready to sell it below Rs30 per kg depending on higher volumes.

Cauliflower is sold at Rs30-50 per kg by various retailers while apple gourd, bottle gourd and ridge gourd prices range between Rs30 and Rs60 per kg.

The price of per kg lady finger in off season is tagged at Rs100-120. Ginger and garlic are available at Rs120-140 depending on the quality. Peas (old and new varieties) are being sold for Rs40-50 per kg and Rs60-80 per kg, while capsicum is being sold at Rs50 per kg.

Retailers said prices had come down due to suspension in supply of vegetables to Afghanistan.

The president of the Falahi Anjuman Wholesale Vegetable Market Superhighway, Haji Shahjehan, said the wholesale price of tomato No. 1 quality (Sindh crop) was Rs10 per kg and No. 2 quality is available at Rs6-7 per kg. A 12-kg wooden box of tomato is being sold at Rs100.

According to him, reports have emerged that tomato growers are facing a crisis as some of them are destroying their ready crop due to very low prices while others are offering tomato at a very cheap rate of Rs2-3 per kg.

He said the government had no policy to support growers in such a crucial time.

He said tomato production this year was much higher than last year.

Onion crop from Sindh and Balochistan is sold at Rs15 per kg while exports are also continuing.

Potato arriving from Punjab’s cold storages is being sold at Rs12 per kg.

The wholesale prices of onion, tomato and potato have been on a downward trajectory for the last two months.

Cucumber and cabbage’s wholesale price is Rs10-12 and Rs15 per kg, respectively. A kilogram of peas cost Rs30. The prices of bottle gourd and capsicum are Rs15-20 and Rs30 per kg, respectively.

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