Sunday, 30 November 2014

Rising chilly weather Demand for dry fruits increases despite high rates

With rising chill weather, the sale of dried fruits items has been increased despite a sharp rise in rates of these items, particularly almonds, and peanut in wholesale and retail markets. Traders says due to low rain in Punjab, the crop of almonds and peanuts have brought adverse impact, which caused decline in production of these most demanding items in the winter season.

However, they said the business has been boosted up, as demand of almost all dried fruits items high from buyers' side, despite registering increase in rates from 50 to 60 percent in this season as compared to last year.

Dry fruits include dates, apricot, peaches, almond, currants, pine nut, peanuts, pistachios and many more. Almond and peanut are the most favourite and their demand is higher than others. Most of these fruits are grown in mountainous and hilly areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK), Balochistan and FATA. A currant mostly producing in Tirah valley of tribal Khyber Agency, which was not supplied as per demand market, due to displacement of growers in wake of the ongoing military operation in the area, says Hazrat Gul, a retailer in local market told the Business Recorder.

According to survey, the peanut is only being available at a reasonable rate of Rs160 per Kilogram. It was also revealed that the prices of pin-nut have also declined from Rs2200 per Kg to Rs1600 per/Kg, while peanuts rates gone up with 30 per cent increase, which is being sold at Rs180 per Kg.

It was noticed a sharp increase in price of almonds, arriving from neighbouring Afghanistan, being is sold at Rs 650 per kg against Rs 450 per kg in last season. Similarly, rate of high quality Australian almonds also registered an increase of Rs 80 per kilogram, which is available at Rs 680 per kg, against the Rs 600 in the preceding winter season.

The prices of Chilgoza have been declined from Rs1600 per/Kg to Rs 1400 per kg, while peanuts rates gone up with 30 per cent increase, which is being sold at Rs160 per Kg against Rs 140 during last period, according to market survey.

Arriving from India and Vietnam, kajoo (cashew nuts) is being sold at Rs 1000 per kilogram at retail market, while angeer is being sold at Rs 600 per kilogram. Good quality shell US almonds are being sold at Rs1000-Rs1200 per kg and almonds without shell between Rs1400 and Rs1600 per kg. The price of walnut has risen to Rs300 per kg against last year's Rs250 per kg whereas walnut meat is selling for Rs600-Rs800 per kg.

According to market survey, the black gram has available at Rs160 per Kg against Rs120 per kg, while prices of apricot have been risen from Rs 480 to Rs600 per kg and other almonds available at Rs400 from Rs300 respectively, it survey noticed.

Pistachio (salted) arriving from Iran is available at Rs1050 per kg at wholesale markets while it was selling at Rs900 per kg last year. Raisin (Kismish Qandhari) wholesale price had increased to Rs550-600 from Rs 450-500 per kg. Retailers are demanding Rs1200 for Walnut (without shell). The wholesale rate of walnut (without shell) is Rs1000 as compared to Rs800 per kg last year.

Buyers complained the high prices of dry-fruits were completely out from the purchasing power of salaried class. "I just found low price of peanuts among other dry-fruits items, which also registered an increase of Rs50 to 60 per Kg against last year", Ashfaq Ahmad, a private-employees of a firm.

Ahmad said the purchasing power was not allowed to low-income segment of the society to buy dry-fruits at high prices. He said that devaluation of local currency inflation and high raise in unemployment were restricted people to only purchase peanuts due to soaring prices of other dry-fruit items.

The buyers demanded of the city district administration for fixing of dry-fruits rates due to available at multiple prices in open market. With the advent of winter season, they said the vendors were charged buyers with huge prices in absence of pricing mechanism.

Despite the high rates, the business of dry-fruits has been accelerated, said Ali Marjan a trader of dry-fruit at roadside at main Hashtnagri, Peshawar. "Now buying dry fruits is not possible for the common man, except peanuts because of their reasonable price," he added.

Another buyer, Zeeshan Mushtaq told this scribe that dry fruits were mostly used in winter season to get relief from cold and argued that the rates were normal and there was no price hike. He said dry fruit vendors sold dry fruits at high prices because they themselves purchased them at high rates from other cities.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2014

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