Prices of dried fruit nuts swell on thin supplies
KARACHI: Dried fruit and nuts prices have doubled over last year due to the thin arrival of neighboring countries, low production rates and high rates of imports. Last year, he sold 3,600 rupiah / kg compared to Rs2,400 / kg. Traders have blamed Afghanistan for its thin material and tribal areas where crop yields are lower than last year. Handcart traders say chilgoza sales are limited because the prices are not expensive.
The price of cashew nuts (kaju) rose to 1,100-1,200, up from Rs 1,600-1,800 per kg a year ago.
Mohammad Mehboob, owner of Kaloo Bhai Gazak Walay in Numaish, said the price was raised as demand for cashew nuts decreased in India and increased in winter. He believed that Indian varieties were far superior to Vietnam and South Africa.
He said the peanut was no longer a cheap dried fruit for the average person. There are three types of peanuts on the market: Parachanar, Sindh interior and India. He said that Parachanar’s peanuts cost about Rs 10,500 per maund and reached Rs 7,000 a year ago. Indian peanuts are sold for Rs 7,500 per month compared to Rs 5,000 last year.
Sellers in the so-called Parachanar varieties sell products with Rs400 per kg, while indoor syndicates sell Rs240 to Rs320 per kg. Because the people can not tell Parachanar and other varieties, these sellers mix the two characteristics for Paracanar but charge the consumer.
The price of khubani also doubled to Rs 1,200 / kg from Rs400-500 last year due to damage to crops.
American Almond prices have remained almost unchanged from Rs1,200 to Rs 1,400 per kg this year. But retailers are selling a variety of high-quality products for Rs 1,600 / kg. Salted pistachios (pista) are available in the wholesale market at Rs 1,200-1,400 per kg, but retailers charge Rs 1,600 per kg from the end user. Peeled pistachios can be purchased at Rs 2,000 per kg compared to Rs2,400 last year, he said.
Kohat varieties are sold at Rs500 per kg compared to Rs450-480 a year ago, while California walnut (akhrot whole) is available at Rs600-800 per kg. He said wholesale prices for walnuts (giri) are steady at 1,200 rupees per kilogram, but retailers sell at Rs 1,600 per kilogram.
According to the Statistical Office of Pakistan, dried fruit and nuts imports rose from 55 million dollars (55,289 tons) to 69 million dollars (82,511 tons) a year ago from July to November 2016.
Haroon Agar, a dried fruit importer, said legal income has flourished over the past year and a half since rigorous border checks were delayed due to illegal canals and smuggling.
He said the KCS raised the price of dried fruit by raising the rate close to the international market price. “The shortfall in invoicing has declined sharply, but higher revenues do not mean higher demand – sales and demand will normalize,” he added.
Agar argued that the smuggling rate of dried fruit was more than 50% a year and a half ago. But now 90pc of demand is being met through legal channels, he said. In supermarkets, prices are much higher because dried fruit prices are sold as attractive packaging materials. For example, chilgoza is 3,800-4,000 rupees per kg at the store.