Amid high prices and low production, the sale of dried fruits remained sluggish as businesses dropped 30 to 40 percent in the current winter season. According to a survey conducted by Business Recorder on Saturday, the prices of most dried fruits items were registered to be costlier except with a slight decrease in the rates of Chalgoza (pin-nuts), while the sale of almonds, pistachios and other items remained unsteady due to high prices as compared to last year.
In this season, the prices of different quality almonds remained on the high side, as the low quality was available at less than Rs 300-360 per kg. The prices of high quality almonds imported from United States, Australia and Afghanistan, also remained costlier in the market, available at Rs 680, Rs 500 and Rs 450 respectively.
Despite the sharp fall in the rate of Chalogzas (pine-nuts) from Rs 2800 to Rs 2400-2000, its sale slowed down in the open market. Pistachios are the most expensive dried fruit after Kajoos (cashew nuts) and Chalogza, as it is available at Rs 900 per kg, while Kajoo is being sold at Rs 880 per kg. Last year, the retail price of pine nut was hovering between Rs 2,400-2,800 per kg including the big retail outlets The demand of peanuts remained high because of reasonable prices in the wholesale and retail markets, while its local production also improved at 30 to 40 per cent as compared to last year. The high quality peanut is being sold at Rs 180-160 per kg.
Arriving Raisin (Kismish) from China and Afghanistan, has also increased to Rs 320 from Rs 280, while imported Kismish from the Islamic Republic of Iran was being sold at Rs 260 per kg. Retailers are demanding Rs 400 per kg for Walnuts (without shell), while Rs 240 was the rate for walnuts covered with shell. The retail prices of black Channa imported from the People’s Republic of China was Rs 160 per kg in the retail market, while coconut was sold at Rs 170 per kg.
The wholesalers and retailers said that their sales remained sluggish owing to high prices as compared to last year. Dry fruit is something that gives us energy and nourishes our body. But this craving for nourishment would burn a hole in the pockets of people already reeling from the pressure of inflation, said a buyers.
The low production and import of dried fruits items from other neighbouring states were the main reason for the rise in prices, said Saeed Khan, a retailer in Hashtnagri market. They had gained only marginal sales this season as compared to last year, he added. Khan said that the prices rose of dried fruits items due to the absence of a proper pricing mechanism. And that they had surplus business through the sale of peanuts which had a high demand this season.