Pakistan’s Department of Plant Protection (DPP)’s quarantine unit, which is responsible for keeping a check on the import and export of edible goods, has banned the import of potatoes and tomatoes from Iran. Due to this decision, there is a fear of price hikes and shortages of the two staple vegetables across the country; tomatoes and potatoes.
A ban was imposed on the import of tomatoes and potatoes coming to Pakistan through the Taftan border of Iran, which has led to a nationwide shortage of these items. The shortage could turn more serious in the next few weeks.
Food factories manufacturing potato chips in Pakistan import a large quantity of Agria, a special type of potato from Iran, but due to the ban, these companies have started buying local potatoes in bulk to stock them in the factories. Owing to that, the supply and demand system has come under severe pressure and there is a risk of a sharp rise in the price of potatoes in the coming days as well as a decrease in availability.
“The quarantine department has imposed an unwarranted and sudden ban and allegations have surfaced that some quarantine officials stationed at the Taftan border had made some “demands” from importers,” a spokesperson told tribune.com.pk. “Most of the importers rejected the undue demands of the quarantine officials due to which a ban was put in place.” He added that if the ban is not lifted, potato and tomato prices could rise by 100% to 150%.