Soaring dry fruit prices drastically plummet buyers footfall

QUETTA   -   Like many other daily use items, the dry fruit has also gone beyond the reach of common buyers for its soar­ing prices due to prevailing econom­ic recession and inflation with buy­ers’ footfall plummeting drastically.

The gorgeous recipes of winter that once used to be an essential component of most of dining tables have now become a distant dream even for the middle class, already struggling to meet its ends in an era of exemplary dearness.

Economic recession, rising infla­tion, dwindling source of income and the soaring cost of living cou­pled with lessening purchasing power had brought down the buy­ers’ footfall to 50 percent as com­pared to the previous year.

Thanks to four years government of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf whose economic policies not only landed the country in real trouble but also deprived common users of essen­tial commodities. Today, like other parts of the country, the dry fruit markets in the heart of Balochistan’s provincial capital Quetta have worn a deserted look. Once packed with customers from across the country, the dry fruit traders are seen sitting idle waiting for buyers as skyrocket­ing prices had equally impacted the lower, middle and high classes.

“Dried fruit prices have registered a massive increase. I feel the result of faulty economic policies of the pre­vious regime has started surfacing,” said Ezatullah, a local dry fruit shop­keeper in Quetta. “The peak buy­ing season has started but dry fruit markets in Quetta present a gloomy picture.” Recalling the recent past, he said, just a few years back we had ample buyers during the sea­son. “I am not talking of long ago – it was near when we the shopkeepers could not even spare time to sit in the chair, when the season used to be on peak. But, today shopkeepers are felt like spending leisure time as there are very few buyers.” 

The market trends show 50 to 100 percent increase in prices with prices of Iranian pistachio surging to Rs 2400 to 3000 per kg from Rs1800, al­mond to Rs 1800 from Rs1000, Indian cashew nuts to Rs 2800 from Rs 2000 and fig prices soaring to Rs 2600 from Rs 1400 per kilogram. Prices of other items like dry grapes, Iranian chick­peas, American walnut also rose to 50 to 100 percent in recent years.

Shams Khan, a wholesale dealer of dry fruit regretted the worrisome state of the affair as the business had shrunk massively during the current season. “We used to trade tons of dry fruit during the season. But, this time after seeing the market situa­tion, we are confused to buy stocks.”

“Almost a month has passed since the winter set in but we have not sold even the previous stock,” he said commenting on the uncer­tain market situation. 

As part of Balochistan’s unique tradition, dry fruits always remained a compulsory item on the sheets and dining tables usually set for the visiting guests. With its exorbitant prices, now dry fruit is no more an essential dining table item even for those earning handsome money.

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