KARACHI: Poultry, meat and vegetable merchants must have enjoyed Eidul Fitr more as hike in demand empowered them to earn super profits during the three-day religious festival.
The market expanded as many new retailers and wholesalers entered in the markets eyeing business opportunities as consumers loosen their purse strings.
However, the lust of profit-making for the poultry sector did not end even after the Eidul Fitr as the stakeholders became more active to cash the chicken demand from the post-Eid marriage season.
In the initial days of Ramazan, many retailers were charging Rs150-160 per kg for live bird and Rs250-280 per kg for its meat but in the last days, they pushed up live bird and its meat price to Rs190 per kg and Rs300-310 per kg, respectively.
On Monday, they further increased the rate to Rs200 per kg for live bird and Rs340-350 per kg for its meat.
There used to be a difference of around Rs100 per kg between the price of live bird and its meat. But from Ramazan this year, retailers abolished this price-fixing formula in meat on their own in view of rising demand from the buyers.
Commissioner Karachi tried to pressurise the poultry sector by announcing the price of Rs140 per kg for live bird and Rs230 per kg for its meat in earlier days of Ramazan. In the last days the prices were revised downward to Rs120 and Rs210 per kg, respectively. However, hardly any retailer sold white meat at official rates during the entire holy month.
A retailer said that increase in demand had caused big demand-supply gap, becoming one of the main reasons of price hike. Giving an example of huge demand, he said that he sold out five to seven days stocks just on chaand raat alone and surprisingly buyers did not any resentment over the skyrocketing rates.
Chief spokesperson of Pakistan Poultry Association (PPA), Abdul Maroof Siddiqui, said that Karachi saw slaughtering of around one million birds on chand raat alone as compared to 500,000-600,000 birds per day in normal days.
He said the poultry price had further gone up after Eid because of rising demand and slowdown in supplies from the farms. “The rates will remain under pressure as demand is going up,” he added.
He claimed that poultry prices had gone up all over Pakistan, and not alone in Karachi. The PPA had already stopped issuing daily poultry rates since it was not getting the rates from the markets.
Vegetables: Consumers paid up to Rs200 per kg for tomatoes on Eid day which was Rs160 per kg in the last days of Ramazan. Now tomatoes rate had fallen to Rs80-100 per kg.
Similarly, the price of onion, which was Rs30-40 per kg, now hovers between Rs50-60 per kg. Good quality potato price also rose to Rs30 from Rs25 per kg.
Falahi Anjuman Wholesale Vegetable Market New Subzi Mandi President Haji Shahjehan linked the increase in prices to slowdown in movement of goods as transporters were on Eid holidays. The rest of damage was done by the retailers who resorted to profiteering.
He said tomato price had suddenly gone up to Rs120 per kg from Rs70-80 per kg in last days of Ramazan. But on Monday it plunged to Rs60 per kg in the wholesale market.
Shahjehan said the export of onion was thriving while there were also reports of damage to both finished and unfinished onion crop in Balochistan after rains. Onion wholesale price went up to Rs35-40 per kg from Rs20-25 per kg.
Meat: There was hardly any retailer who sold mutton at control rate of Rs550 per kg as majority of them charged over Rs600 per kg. Beef merchants, who were demanding Rs300-310 per kg for veal (Bachia), sought Rs340-350 per kg on chand raat from buyers, while the price of boneless veal was hovering between Rs440 and Rs480 per kg as compared to Rs400 and Rs420 per kg ahead of chand raat.
A meat retailer at Water Pump, F.B. Area, said that because of tremendous buying pressure he brought at least six veal cows on chand raat as compared to two to three in normal days.