Hope of price deflation riding on them, nearly 75 trucks laden with 10 tonnes of onions each rolled in from Pakistan at the joint checkpost at Attari border on Wednesday. India, in turn, sent 39 truckloads of tomato and 28 trucks of soybean to its neighbour.
The onion import — more than 292 trucks from Pakistan have come in through Attari border in the past 10 days – is being seen as an effective tool to stem the spiraling prices of what is an essential ingredient of most dishes in this part of the world.
Sources among traders said more than 2,000 tonnes more of onions would arrive in the coming few days. According to Om Prakash Lati Shah, a trader, following realisation of orders placed with businessmen across the fence, prices of onion “have come down from Rs. 50 per kilogram to around Rs. 28 a kg”. Further dip is expected as more truckers drive in carrying the tear-inducing vegetable.
But contrary to a layman’s view, there is little concern here over tomato export to Pakistan. Shah said excessive winter chill and untimely rains have affected the tomato crop here, and that coupled with the destruction of the crop in Dubai has led to the escalation in prices of tomato. Prices that stood at Rs. 8 a kg in the first week of December touched Rs. 26 before coming down a tad to Rs. 18-19 currently.
“This is a passing phase. The prices are likely to fall in the coming fortnight or so. There is no point in stopping the export of tomatoes for just a few days,” he said.
According to RK Duggal, deputy commissioner (customs), 30-35 trucks of tomato are making their way into Pakistan virtually everyday. “Besides tomato, ginger, green chili and capsicum too are a major part of current exports to Pakistan; the imports include dry fruits as well,” he informed. The importers here, meanwhile, held a meeting and demanded incentives on the lines of those given to exporters. “This would only encourage further import and bring down prices,” said one trader, Rajesh Setia.