The Economic Times has reported some produce is selling in Pakistan for 10 times what it sells for in India.
“With `tomato` prices at US$1.70 per kg in Pakistan, and only US$0.17 per kg in the top tomato-producing state, Maharashtra, there is a huge rush to export,” Jaspal Singh, a clearing agent at Attari border near Amritsar, told the Economic Times.
The World Bank has estimated Pakistan’s crop loss at US$1bn. The affected harvests include cotton, sugarcane, rice, corn, fruit and vegetables, leaving Pakistan dependent on imports, mainly from India, to make up for the shortfall, the newspaper reported.
The price spike in Pakistan is affecting prices on the Indian market with tomatoes selling in some areas for twice as much as usual in October.
One in every four trucks from Pimpalgaon in Maharastra is headed for Pakistan, said the Economic Times.
Customs officials at Amritsar said over 135 trucks, each carrying 16 tonnes of tomatoes, cross over to Lahore daily, catering to demand in Pakistan. Another 70 trucks are going to Bangladesh, traders told the newspaper.
Diversion of tomatoes from Pimpalgaon to Pakistan and Bangladesh is starving the local market. Gujarat, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh all source their tomatoes from Maharashtra.
Only around 35 trucks are arriving daily at Azadpur wholesale market in Delhi, Asia's largest fruit and vegetable market, which caters to the entire northern region.
Rains and foggy weather in the higher reaches of Himachal Pradesh's Lahaul valley have affected the traditional winter tomato crop, further exacerbating the problem.
Consumers can expect little respite until the new crop grown in the northern plains starts arriving a month from now, said the Economic Times.