(MENAFN - Arab News) A number of local investors and fruit and vegetable traders in jeddah have expressed concern about the decline in prices of the national produce by 30 percent owing to the increased imports of various types of fruits and vegetables especially tomatoes from neighboring arab countries.
ali al-marzouq an investor called for strict regulation to prevent the placing of imported tomatoes alongside the local produce in jeddah's vegetable market.
he said traders and investors were surprised to find in the last few days large quantities of imported tomatoes being sold along with the local produce in the market noting that the additional agricultural products were directly affecting the prices of the homegrown products.
al-marzouq also called on authorities to monitor such activities more closely.
'the prices of tomatoes dropped from sr12 to sr8 for a six kilogram box a decline of 33 percent" al-marzouq said. he expressed fears of further fall in prices of the national produce with the increase in the quantity of imported tmatoes.
abdul hakim al-mahfouz another investor in jeddah's vegetable market said the volume of the precious tomatoes currently represents 30 percent of the total supply in the market.
farmers in usfan near jeddah are struggling especially as may is the month of harvest. 'as these farms harvest large quantities of produce they will be forced to sell regardless of the price" he said.
al-mahfouz called for solutions to the problem of unfair competition in the vegetable market pointing out that there is only one month left for the current planting season.
al-mahfouz added: 'the declining prices of agricultural products is disastrous for farmers especially with the ongoing crisis of shortage of foreign labor and the difficulties farmers are facing in obtaining sufficient agricultural labor. the shortage of labor has also contributed to a 25 percent rise in monthly wages."
he said that added to this is the intention of many of the foreign laborers to return to their countries by mid-may which will put the farmers in real trouble.