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Pakistan starts importing Indian potatoes to reduce shortage after flood
Date: 2010/8/20 Click: 1698
Pakistan has started to import potatoes from India to cater for the domestic needs in the wake of anticipated fear of acute shortage of potato crop in the country as the large quantity of crop has been devastated by the recent flash flood, local media reported on Tuesday.
  The first consignment of Indian potatoes, comprising of 20 to 25 trucks, arrived on Monday at Wahga border in Pakistan's eastern city of Lahore.
  Pakistan's northwestern province Kyber-Pakhtunkhwa (KP) is traditionally considered as a major source of red potatoes during July and August, but this year's record-breaking floods have ruined the entire crop, giving rise to apprehension of shortage of potatoes in coming days.
  Potato prices have already started surging in the wholesale and retail markets of the country.
  "In order to curb the rising price trend of potatoes, Indian potatoes have started reaching the country and Monday's consignment was the first of the series of such import as other large imported quantities are on its way and likely to reach during the current week," said Haji Shahjahn, President Wholesale Vegetable Welfare Association.
  The import is likely to help stabilize potato prices in the country's markets, thus easing out financial pressure on consumers already groaning under the impact of rampant inflation of essential commodities.
  Similarly, prices for the majority of vegetables also surged in the domestic market during the last one week mainly due to the devastation of the crops by the flood in major vegetable producing areas of the provinces of Sindh, KP, Punjab and Balochistan.
  Prices of the vegetables like spinach, bitter goud, potatoes and others have surged by 200 percent to 300 percent.
  Pakistani Muslims are observing the holy month of Ramadan during which the food demand is usually going up by three to four times.
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