Tomatoes from India — mostly from Nashik in Maharashtra — are flooding Pakistani kitchens, sending trade between the countries across the Attari border in Punjab soaring.
The tomato crop in Pakistan has failed this year. In contrast, Nashik has seen a bumper crop. Not surprisingly around 1.5 lakh kilos (150 tonnes) of tomatoes are travelling daily in truckloads from India to Pakistan.
Cross border trade had fallen steeply after Pakistan imposed a 25 per cent duty six months ago on potatoes and onions imported from India. These two being the chief items of export through Attari, the number of trucks crossing daily fell from 120 to around a dozen.
Now, around 130 fully laden trucks have begun travelling from India to Pakistan daily, thanks to the new-found demand for tomatoes.
India’s imports from Pakistan too have risen, specially of dry fruits.
“The return of heavy truck movement at the Attari border is a great sign,” said Om Prakash, chairman of the India-Pakistan Exporters Association. "But it would be good if the governments of both the countries allowed free trade and did not impose any duty on household items."