Pakistan Mehangai

Pakistan’s Poor Suffers As Prices Of Basic Food Items Surge

Pakistan Mehangai

Factors such as higher import and transportation costs, crop availability, demand and supply gap, hoarding, exchange rate issues, and the ongoing economic crisis have resulted in uncontrolled inflation in Pakistan, even on essential food items, the Dawn reported, adding that the condition was rendered far worse after the floods that hit the country last year.

According to the report, the ballooning inflation is largely down to Karachi’s zero production of food grain and dependence on Sindh’s interior areas.

The report quoted data released by the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS), pointing out that the price of 20kg flour in Karachi zoomed to a record high of PKR 2,800 to PKR 3,000. The same cost PKR 1,295 in Islamabad, Lahore, and Gujranwala and PKR 1,300 to PKR 2,880 in Larkana, Sukkur, and Hyderabad.

The country is facing a similar price spiral when it comes to pulses as well, as in Quetta, the rate of Moong is between Rs300-310 per kig as compared to Rs210-280 per kg in other cities. The price of gram has reached Rs280-290 per kg in Quetta as compared to Rs220-260 per kg in Karachi and Rs200-250 in other cities, according to the Dawn report.

Potatoes are currently priced at PKR 35 to 90 per kg, while onion prices range between PKR 180 and PKR 220 per kg. Even loose milk in Larkana is priced dearly at Rs180-200 per liter as compared to Rs180-190 in Karachi, Rs150-180 in Peshawar, Rs110-120 in Bahawalpur, Rs170-180 in Islamabad, Rs120 in Sialkot and Rs130-160 in Lahore.

The prices of essential food items have only gone further beyond the reach of the common man after the devastating floods that hit Pakistan in August, last year.

Lower quantities are arriving in the markets from producing areas, that too at higher prices, the report said, adding that governmental efforts to import onions from other countries also failed to bring the prices down.

According to the Dawn, there’s also been a rise in prices of non-vegetarian essentials in Karachi, with mutton going at Rs1,500-1,800 per kg as against Rs1,100-1,500 in Peshawar and Rs1,250 in Larkana.

The Dawn further states that a live broiler chicken is priced at Rs460 per kg in Khuzdar, as compared to Rs410-450 in Quetta and Rs390-420 in Karachi. In Peshawar and Islamabad, the going rate for a broiler chicken is Rs375 and Rs390-400, respectively.

The Dawn quoted Karachi Wholesalers Grocers Group chairman Rauf Ibrahim as saying that the port city is the hub of imported pulses, which is later transported to mills for finishing and then to various cities, thus causing a huge price difference due to transportation charges. The same happens when local crops arrive at the mills and are then distributed to various areas, with varying transportation charges.

The price spiral of wheat and flour is turning worse with every passing day, especially in Karachi, Balochistan, and Peshawar, the report said.

As fresh harvest is still two months away, the government should allow the private sector to import wheat in huge quantities to control rising flour prices, the report added, quoting Ibrahim. (ANI)

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