Indian tomato exports to flood-hit Pakistan soar

Hundreds of trucks laden with tomatoes are crossing over to flood-hit Pakistan every day across the Attari-Wagah Border."Over 125 trucks (carrying 16 tonnes each) of tomatoes are going to Pakistan through the Wagah Border everyday," Amritsar Exporters Chambers of Commerce Vice-President Rajdeep Uppal told PTI.

Besides tomatoes, soyabean meal from India is in great demand in Pakistani markets, Uppal -- who heads a leading export house in Amritsar -- added.

"Roughly 400-500 trucks of soyabean meal (each carrying 16 tonnes) are going to Pakistan every week," Uppal added.

He said there is a shortage of cotton in Pakistan markets and a flood of exports from India is expected soon. Onions were also in great demand in Pakistan till a fortnight back, he added.

Except for onions, for which the government fixes a minimum export price, there is no bar on the export of any fresh vegetable produce from India.There had been an upswing in tomato exports to Pakistan despite a heavy duty of 48 per cent, Uppal said.

Two years ago, the Pakistani government had imposed a 48 per cent duty on potatoes, 28 per cent on onions and 6 per cent on tomatoes, which virtually halted the vegetable trade between the two countries, he said. However, damage to crops due to floods has revived trade, despite the duties.

Truck loads of potatoes are heading to the Wagah Border from Nashik, Delhi, Amritsar and Jalandhar for flood-ravaged Pakistan.

Uppal said the tomato rush to Pakistan is expected to continue till November-end, when fresh crops will be available in the country.

The high price attracted by tomatoes is an incentive for routing the crop there.
Tomatoes are garnering about Rs 40-50 a kg in Pakistan in comparison to about Rs 10 a kg in the wholesale markets of Delhi and Nashik, besides other markets, he added.
Surendra Kumar, the Treasurer of the Tomato Traders Association based at Azadpur market (Asia's biggest fruit & vegetables market), who himself is sending 5 trucks of tomatoes to Pakistan daily, said export incentives provided by the government have also motivated traders to send their produce across the border

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