Tomatoes, which are becoming expensive by the day due to vegetable shortages caused by erratic imports, are off vegetable sandwiches and salad plates at most small eateries.
Eateries say they are unable to access good quality tomatoes due to shortages so they cannot use them in sandwiches and salad preparations.
And whatever tomato stocks are available in the local market are selling at very high prices.
The retail rate yesterday touched an incredible QR15 per kilo as the wholesale price at the central fruit and vegetable market soared to an equally shocking QR70 for a five-kilo pack.
An Indian who frequents a small cafeteria in the Old Airport area said he regularly had vegetable sandwiches and juice at this café but they had not been using tomatoes in the sandwiches for the past three days.
“The sandwiches have more of cucumbers these days, perhaps due to escalating tomato prices,” the expatriate told this newspaper, not wanting his name in print.
But vegetable wholesalers at the central market said even cucumbers were expensive although their supplies were not as badly hit as those of tomatoes.
They said it might take a few more days before vegetable imports were back to normal.
“The prices would stabilise only when supplies resume at full scale,” one of the wholesalers said.
According to him, most truck drivers who transported fresh vegetables and fruits from countries like Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and Saudi Arabia took leave during Eid holidays, which hugely affected the imports.
As a result, exporters in the above countries diverted fruit and vegetable stocks to other destinations. “They couldn’t afford to wait because these are perishables which must be immediately offloaded on the consumer market,” said the wholesaler.
It would, therefore, take sometime to re-divert these exports to Qatar even if truck drivers resume their work after holidays. “That is the reason why the supplies are resuming slowly,” the wholesaler explained. On the other hand, the demand for fresh fruits and vegetables has been soaring here since most families which went overseas during Eid holidays are back, he said.
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