Spiraling prices sour dates in Pakistan

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Behind skyscrapers and encroached by way of an unlawful delivery terminal, a bumpy side road ends up in Karachi’s well-known khajoor(date) marketplace. As Ramazan approaches, the century-old business point situated in the southern district of Karachi bubbles with task. Both outlets and wholesalers rush to buy probably the most sought-after commodity.

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Nestled in both corroded and new constructions, the entrance is blocked by way of a consistent visitors jam. The huge portion of the front boulevard is dug up. The restore work undertaken by means of software businesses a number of months in the past, is far from of entirety, portraying this historical position a picture of utter overlook.

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But this doesn’t stop date lovers thronging the market. Dozens of makeshift stalls, handcarts together with proper stores have come up to promote dates — a most well-liked commodity, to break speedy at sunset, throughout the holy month of Ramazan.

Rich variety
Hordes of different types of dates are lying at the ground, or at the carts while good-quality dates in fancy packing are stashed in the wood cabins.

Not handiest Karachi but this marketplace caters to the wishes of the entire lower part of southern Sindh, apart from up-country throughout the fasting month.


“People start thronging from the mid of Shaban [Islamic month that precedes Ramazan] to buy the stock either for their personal use or to gift their near and dear ones,”


Mohammad Haroon

Mohammad Haroon, who has been in the industry for the past four many years, advised Anadolu Agency.

Irani variety Mazafati dates are a favorite, on account of their softness and affordable price. Other famous sorts on sale are, Iraqi, Aseel, Karbalaee, Ajwa, Anber, and Mabroom, in line with Haroon.
“I buy dates from here every year before Ramazan and gift them to my family members and friends back home,” mentioned Taj Mohammad, who at the start hails from northwestern Khyber Pakthunkhwa but lately lives in Karachi for trade.

“This is the best place to buy high-quality dates at reasonable prices.That’s why not only me but thousands of others prefer to buy dates from here during Ramazan or otherwise,” Taj mentioned, whilst status with a small crowd buying the commodity at a makeshift shop.

A Group of burqa-clad girls had accrued around and engaged in anxious discount at an adjoining stall. “There is no better gift than to give dates in Ramazan,” he maintained.

Pakistan is the world’s fifth-largest date producer on this planet, contributing 11 in keeping with cent to the whole international production. Khairpur district is among the biggest date-cultivating districts on the earth.

According to Mohammad Bashir Arain, chairman of the Date Merchant Association Khairpur, round 130 sorts are grown in Pakistan.

India annually buys 400,000 metric heaps of dried dates — often referred to as Chohara — from Pakistan, principally from Khairpur district.

Haroon, who claims to be the marketplace’s oldest dealer, mentioned his elder brother had arrange business in the market long ago in 1937.

“And he was not the first one. He told me that many others had already been doing business here,” he added.

Neglecting historical past
This, one of the vital oldest business issues in Karachi with a wealthy historical past, desperately calls for major repairs and preservation.

The once-paved side road is battered. The potholes and splintered stone bumps are a recipe for an forthcoming twist of fate. Disorganized placement of handcarts, and makeshift stores have additional narrowed down the road, making way a nightmare, especially for ladies.

Scores of auto-rickshaws are also parked in an extended queue, alongside the market entrance, turning it into an everlasting and illegal shipping terminal.

The site could also be house to vegetable and fruit distributors, who use high-decibel sounds in their vocal cords to attract consumers.

“This can be a major business attraction for Karachiites if the government pays a little attention and works to preserve the historic site,” Haroon said. “But I don’t think the government has time for that,” he laments.

Spiraling costs
Traders complained that soaring prices, basically on account of a record devaluation of the Pakistani rupee in opposition to the US dollar, has hit their business.

“There has been an average 50 per cent increase in date prices due to the recent devaluation [of the rupee] which has affected our sales,” Haroon said.

“The Irani date, which used to sell at Rs120 to Rs140 [$1] per kilogram a couple of months ago, is now being sold at Rs320 ($2.5) per kg. This has understandably reduced the buying power of consumers,” he noticed.

Traders import huge amount of dates from Iran, Iraq and Saudi Arabia to fulfill local demand throughout Ramazan. Whereas, in the community produced dates — in Khairpur and the coastal districts of Balochistan — also are well-liked amongst consumers.

Fareed Ahmad, any other shopkeeper, counseled his colleague’s point.

“We have recorded 40 to 50 per cent decrease in our sales this month, which otherwise used to be a month of roaring business for us,” he instructed Anadolu Agency.

“If you had come last year [at this time], I would not have even time to talk to you [because of rush],” he added.

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