SRINAGAR Unlike previous years, the prices of dates have increased in the Kashmir markets this Ramazan, thanks to the major decrease in supply mostly due to suspension of cross LoC trade.
Bashir Ahmad Sheikh, a wholesale dealer of dates explained that less arrival of dates this year was responsible for the soaring prices by 15 to 20 per cent. Kashmir has recorded the arrival of less date as compared to same time last year mostly due to suspension of cross LoC trade. Almost 20- 30 per cent decrease in arrival has caused the prices to go up said Sheikh.
According to traders, prices of non-branded as well as branded dates have increased by at least 15-20 in the local markets. While last year one kilogram of unbranded dates was sold at Rs 90- Rs 100, this year it is sold at Rs 150- Rs 200, said the traders.
Farooq Dagga, a dates merchant said that there has been some impact due to levy of 12 per cent Goods and Services Tax on the market prices of dates for last couple of years. While there is almost increase of Rs 20 Rs 30 per kg due to GST, dates which used to arrive through LoC trade mostly in form of dry low priced dates is witnessing a shortage, said Dagga.
Ajwa dates, popular among consumers, are priced anywhere between Rs 2000- Rs 2200 per kilogram showing a steep increase in prices.
Forty plus varieties of dates that have arrived in Kashmir for Ramazan this year which commenced on May 6 have seen an increase in prices proving to be a burden on common people.
Date merchants at Parimpora fruit mandi said dates from Oman, Algeria, Iran and Iraq among other Muslim countries also find many buyers in the local market. These varieties which include Rabi, Razan, Kaas, Nawar, Jumar, Barari priced in the range of Rs 150 to Rs 2000 per kg have also seen an increase of 15 20 per cent, said another trader.
Dates from Iraq and Pakistan used to find many takers in the local market but due to suspension of cross LoC trade there supplies have dried up. Even Israel exports dates across the world and this produce used to be also available in the Valley, Muhammad Saleem Bhat, a fruit merchant said. (KNO)