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High prices of dry fruit keep buyers away 

26 Desember 2010 06:29:17

High prices of dry fruit keep buyers away

Sohail Rashid

There was a time not long ago when all family members used to sit together in their houses at night close to heaters munching dry fruit, especially peanuts, and discussing what they had been doing in the day.

Times have changed now due to the unprecedented price hike in the country. Dry fruit have now become a luxury for the poor and middle-class. Family gatherings, which were a routine sometime back, have almost diminished in most houses.

Seasons and fruit go together; especially dry fruit have a unique relation with winter. People love to eat dry fruit in the chilly weather. Dry fruit are also used in summer in desserts, but in winter its consumption normally surges by 50%. But this time around, it is not the case because of their sky high prices.

A survey conducted by INFN revealed that peanuts are being sold at the rate of Rs200 per kilogram. Almond price ranges between Rs500 and Rs800 per kilogram, depending on their quality. Pistachio and chilghoza (pine nut) are being sold at the rates of Rs800 and Rs2,000 per kilogram respectively.

Nazeer Khan, a dry fruit seller in Narankari Bazaar, said: In winter, the sale increases manifold, especially there is a great demand for peanuts and almonds. However this time around, it is not the case as people, who are already facing a tough time, cannot afford to buy dry fruit.

We bring dry fruits from as far as Balochistan, Gilgit and Afghanistan and due to imposition of various taxes we have to increase their prices, he added.

Dry fruit are good for health. I think their prices should not be exorbitant as most of them are produced locally, said Zeeshan Awan, a shopper.

In the age when people cannot afford sugar in their teacups, dry fruits have indeed become a luxury, said Sheikh Latif, a trader.

Idrees Ahmad, a student, said that he used to eat pistachios, almonds and peanuts while studying along with his friends at night but now it was difficult to continue with that routine due to price hike.

Maryum Khan, a housewife, said that doctors recommend a handful of dry fruit every day in the winter season. She regretted that they could not afford to buy dry fruit as her husband draws meagre salary.

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