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Tomato Prices Double Overnight In Iran As Ban On Exports Lifted

Tehran vegetable market. File photo

Tomato prices have doubled in Iran in two days after the government lifted a ban on its export, official news outlet IRNA reported.

In recent weeks, other vegetables, such as onions and lettuce suddenly became expensive until their export was banned and prices decreased somewhat.

One kilo of tomatoes is now around 40 US cents, but the export price is around 70 cents, pushing merchants to send the produce to neighboring countries. It is not clear why the government lifted the export ban on tomatoes.

While 40 cents might not seem a lot for 2.2 pounds of tomatoes, the minimum monthly wage in Iran is around $100.

The Iranian currency rial has dropped fourfold against the dollar in one year, and that makes prices seem low compared to other countries. But in local currency prices have skyrocketed for Iranians whose incomes are rials.

The price of onions had reached $1.25 a week ago, but with the export ban implemented, it has gone down by 40 percent. Still, onions are more expensive that before. IRNA says, obviously when prices come down, they never go back to their earlier levels.

The head of produce merchants’ association told ISNA news website that instead of banning exports the government must resort to tariffs as a tool to control prices. He added that even the news on allowing or banning exports immediately affects prices.