Fresh milk, wheat flour, vegetables prices shoot up

13 Jul 2020

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MILK is being collected at a city dairy farm.—Fahim Siddiqi / White Star
MILK is being collected at a city dairy farm.—Fahim Siddiqi / White Star

KARACHI: In the absence of any effective price checking mechanism and government’s writ, stakeholders raised the price of fresh milk by Rs10 to Rs120 per litre followed by a Rs20 per kilogram jump in yogurt price to Rs180 per kilo across Karachi.

Stakeholders had already warned on July 7 of an increase in milk price to Rs120 per litre after raising the rate by Rs330 per 37.5 litres, or maund, to Rs3,840.

Prior to the fresh price hike, milk was selling at Rs110 per litre despite fixing of official rate at Rs94 per litre last year.

As past practice, the commissioner of Karachi would announce measures to deal with milk stakeholders and after a passage of time, the dust will settle, leaving the consumers to pay the higher price.

Defending the price hike, president of the Dairy Cattle Farmers Association Shakir Umar Gujjar said the government had not been realising the rising input cost, soaring food inflation, utility charges etc.

Effective measures urged to seal borders with Punjab and Balochistan to stop wheat movement from Sindh

He claimed that a buffalo is now available at Rs300,000 which was Rs130,000-Rs40,000 last year.

After a unilateral price increase by the farmers, wholesalers and retailers, the commissioner had called a meeting on Tuesday to discuss the price issue, he said.

Media coordinator of the All Karachi Milk Retailers Welfare Association Abdul Waheed Gaddi said 90 per cent of retailers in Karachi are selling milk at Rs120 per litre after a jump in its wholesale rates.

“Every time retailers face punishment and fines while the authorities do not put their hands on the powerful dairy farmers and wholesalers,” he said.

Wheat flour

Two days back, flour millers jacked up the price of flour No 2.5 to Rs48 per kilogram from Rs46.50. The 10kg bag rate has been fixed at Rs485 against the earlier Rs475.

From the last week of April till to date, flour millers had enhanced flour No 2.5 rate by Rs12.50 per kg on various pretexts such as rising wheat price in the open market due to non-release of vehicles loaded with wheat arriving from the interior of Sindh to Karachi by provincial food department officials.

Later, flour mills warned of a serious wheat and flour crisis in Karachi and Hyderabad due to wheat movement to Punjab and Balochistan, where prices are high. They demanded strict measures to seal borders of Punjab and Balochistan to control movement of wheat from Sindh, otherwise, they warned, Sindh, including Karachi and Hyderabad, would face an acute shortage of wheat and flour.

Sindh’s wheat procurement drive for 2019-2020 had ended on June 30, 2020 at the rate of Rs3,500 per 100 bag from the growers.

Chairman of the Pakistan Flour Mills Association, Sindh zone, Khalid Masood said the provincial government is reported to have procured 1.235 million tonnes instead of its target of 1.4m tonnes.

He attributed the price hike in flour to the increase in wheat prices in the open market to Rs4,500 per 100kg bag from Rs3,500 in April 2020.

Vegetables

A number of retailers are charging Rs50 per kg for onion instead of Rs40 while tomato prices are still high at Rs80-100 per kg which last week had touched Rs120 per kg.

Potato price also saw a jump to Rs60 from Rs50 per kg while sweet gourd (loki) price swelled to Rs100-120 per kg from Rs80.

Bitter gourd (karela) price rose to Rs100 from Rs60-70 per kg while cabbage rate reached Rs80 from Rs60 per kg. Apple gourd (turai) price surged to Rs100 from Rs80 per kg.

President of the Falahi Anjuman Wholesale Market Superhighway Haji Shahjehan said tomato prices have been under pressure due to the end of Sindh’s crop while little quantities have started arriving from the new Balochistan crop.

He said the wholesale rate of potato has jumped by Rs10 to Rs45 per kg as potatoes are arriving from cold storages.

Published in Dawn, July 13th, 2020