The three-day closure of routes including highways and railway tracks due to the sit-in protests against Quetta carnage has badly affected trade activities and export of vegetables and fresh fruits in the country. According to exporters of fresh fruits, hundreds of trucks and containers carrying fruits and vegetables for export have been stuck at various areas while consignments scheduled to be exported via airlines have also been disrupted by the closure of routes linking airports.
Waheed Ahmed, head of Pakistan Fruit and Vegetable Exporters Importers and Merchant Association (PFVA), claimed that the exporters faced an estimated loss of $2.3 million during the last three days amidst the ongoing protests and sit-ins. According to him, during the last one year horticulture has been the worst affected sector by the repeated and prolonged strikes by the transporters and other political/religious parties in the country.
Zahid Awan, chairman Fresh Fruit Welfare Association, claimed that the city might face acute shortage of vegetables and fruits as almost 85 percent supply of the New Vegetable Market from up country had been stopped. “Only vegetables from surroundings of Karachi are coming to the city’s largest market feeding the entire metropolis. The short supply has also badly affected the exports from this market,” he further said.
A vendor said that if the strike/sit-ins continued in the country, vegetable and fruits prices would go up as there would be acute shortage of the commodities at their end. The prolonged transporters strike have rendered more than 200,00 labours and workers at Suzbi Mandi as jobless and continuation of the present situation may result in law and order situation in the city. The wholesale fruit and vegetable market is the biggest in the country, which spreads over 100 acres area with three divisions; fruits, vegetables and onion/potato. It receives supply of nearly 800 trucks per day on normal days.