KARACHI: Flour millers continue to play havoc with the prices as they raised rates of different varieties on Tuesday by up to Rs2 per kg.

The price hike came after the start of releasing wheat stocks by the Sindh government following fixation of higher issue price of Rs3,450 per 100 kg as compared to Rs3,250 last year. Few days back, the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) had also announced despatch of wheat stocks to various provinces including Sindh from Pakistan Agricultural Storage and Supplies Corporation.

The new price of flour no 2.5 has been set at Rs48.50 as compared to Rs48 prevailing in the last week of October while 10kg flour now costs Rs490 versus Rs485 a while back.

According to millers, the new price of maida and fine flour is Rs54.50 as against Rs52.50, up by Rs2 per kg.

Flour varieties have been under pressure since April as millers had been pushing up rates on rising 100kg bag which is now quoted at Rs4,550 as compared to Rs4,400 prevailing during the last week of October in the open market. In April, the wheat bag was available at Rs3,000 per bag.

In April, rates of flour no 2.5 and 10kg bag were at Rs33.50 per kg and Rs340, respectively, while maida and fine flour were available at Rs36.50 per kg.

The flour no 2.5 price was raised by Rs15 per kg, maida and fine flour by Rs18, while the 10kg bag by Rs150 from April till Nov 5.

Consumers are taking the costly ride by paying hefty prices of flour varieties amid a good crop and huge carry-over stocks of last year. The Ministry of National Food Security and Research (MNFSR) had informed the ECC last week that Passco and provincial food departments had reported their stocks at 6.44 million tones, as compared to 10.09m tonnes in corresponding period of last year.

Total availability of wheat this year was estimated at 28.26m tonnes, including the leftover stock of 3.78m tonnes as compared to the requirement of 26.91m tonnes.

Pakistan Flour Mills Association (PFMA) Sindh Chairman Khalid Masood on Nov 5 sought intervention of Food Minister Sahabzada Muhammad Mehboob Sultan to avert wheat and flour crises.

Published in Dawn, November 6th, 2019