Vegetable prices double

Tomato supplies from Jordan may ease the situation

Imported tomato from Jordan. — SG photo by Irfan Mohammed

Saudi Gazette

— As supplies dwindle due to unexplained circumstances, prices of vegetables — mainly tomato and okra — have surged sharply over the last few weeks in Jeddah and also other parts of the Kingdom.

Tomato prices have almost doubled to SR12 per kg in retail markets and gradually increasing. However, prices may come time slightly as supplies from Jordan hit markets.

The skyrocketing prices of tomato across the Kingdom has caused jitters among consumers as it is the main ingredient of many common dishes.

Many retail traders told Saudi Gazette that housewives are reluctant to buy tomato due to price factor and also good quality is not available in the market.

The tomato is being sold at average of SR10-12 per kg by local vegetable vendors depending on the quality and locality.

Not only tomato but other vegetable prices have also gone up. Okra prices also have increased to above 100 percent, according to traders. Okra is fetching SR25 per kg from the earlier SR12 per kg.

Normally, prices of tomato and other vegetables firm up in the off-season of August-September every year due to shortage of supplies owing to high temperatures in the Kingdom, and limited supplies from Turkey but the sharp increase in rates this time i s attributed mainly due to the falling supplies from Jordan and other major vegetable supplying countries.

For a few weeks now, tomatoes have remained out of the dining table, said Mohammed Asghar Ali, an Indian expatriate.

Retail vendors said that they are not keeping tomato these days as there are few buyers. Tomato imported from Turkey was available in limited quantity.

“Yes, it’s true that supplies have fallen and prices have increased but the price increase in supermarkets and grocery stores is more,” said a trader.

Despite harsh weather conditions and hectic Haj season, vegetable prices were stable owing to abundant crop available from Taif, Tabuk, Al-Kharj, Hail and Al-Ahsa.

As temperatures rise, the harvest season comes to an end with reduction in output when supplies from Turkey and Jordan ease customers’ worries in the Kingdom.