Pine nuts selling at Rs9k per kg

Decrease in local production reason behind major price hike


APP November 13, 2019
PHOTO: FILE

ISLAMABAD: ‘Chilghoza’, the most popular dry fruit has gone beyond the purchasing power of the common man, as its increasing price has made it inaccessible. The price of Chilghozas also known as pine nuts has jumped from Rs4,000 per kilogramme to Rs9,000 per kilogramme (kg).

Islamabad based dry fruit merchant told the media that Chilghoza was produced in  Waziristan, Suleiman Mountain Range of Zhob and Sherani districts, Kalash, and Gilgit-Baltistan but declined in production, increased cost of collection, roasting, sorting, and packing practices had doubled the prices.

Moreover, after the decrease in its local production and import of Afghanistan's Chilghoza by China, the price of pine nuts had substantially increased in local markets, he added. The local production, he said could get a significant boost if proper facilities and technical support were provided to the farmers keeping in view the climate change impacts on production of the pine nuts, adding that the agricultural experts should help grow local species of Chilghoza trees for increasing its production.

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Prices of other dry fruits in Islamabad are also high as compared to the areas producing dry fruits in abundance, he added.

A dry fruit importer told the media that the market rates of dry fruits were doubled due to transport cost while reaching the capital. "Almonds in shells from Iran or Afghanistan are bought at Rs700/kg in Quetta dry fruits market and shipped northward to sell at Rs1,200/kg to Rs1,600/kg in Islamabad," he added.

He said the prices of other dry fruits like cashew nut, pistachio, and walnuts had also been increased due to problems in importing the commodity and the increase in demand of the dry fruit.

Meanwhile, most of the traders alleged that short supplies from main dry fruit producing countries including Afghanistan and Iran due to multiple reasons were also responsible for increasing the prices.

Almonds mostly produced in the cold areas of Balochistan, the production rate has been affected due to drought in the region for the past many years which resulted in increase of its price to Rs1600/kg.

Similarly, the price of cashews is Rs800/kg at the arrival stage to markets but in federal capital it is sold at Rs1600/kg.  

Published in The Express Tribune, November 13th, 2019.

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