KARACHI: Prices of two staple food items — flour and milk — have set out on an upward trajectory, with flour rates rising by Rs2 per kilogram and leading packaged milk producers issuing new prices lists showing a hike of Rs10 on a litre pack.

A flour miller, who asked not to be named, said millers in Sindh had raised flour prices by Rs2 per kilogram to pass on the impact of a Rs500 hike in the price of 100kg wheat bag in the open market soon after the Eid holidays. The bag now sells for Rs6,400.

The price of a 10kg bag had been fixed at Rs695, up by Rs20 per bag, while prices of 50kg bag of flour no. 2.5 and fine flour had been raised to Rs3,450 and Rs 3,600, up by Rs 100 each, he said.

He said the Pakistan Flour Millers Association (PFMA) had written a letter to the Sindh’s chief secretary to take notice of food department officials and other agencies who were stopping wheat-laden vehicles of flour millers arriving to Karachi from other parts of the province.

Packaged milk rates also set to go up in coming days

The drivers, he said, were being asked to either pay bribe on the spot or their vehicles were being taken to warehouses to achieve the Sindh government’s wheat procurement target.

The miller said the Punjab government and the Pakistan Agricultural Storage and Services Corporation (Passco) were reported to have achieved their respective wheat procurement targets of 3.5 million tonnes and 1.3m tonnes, and now planned to take the targets to 4.5m tonnes and 1.7m tonnes.

In contrast, Sindh had procured 750,000 tonnes of wheat from growers against the target of 1.4m tonnes for this season, he claimed, adding that flour prices might come under more pressure in case food department officials continued to stop vehicles of flour mills from entering Karachi.

Meanwhile, two leading packaged milk producers had also decided to increase the prices from the second week of May and the first week of June, a retailer said.

He said Nestle Pakistan Ltd and FrieslandCampina Engro Pakistan Ltd had issued new price lists that mentioned a Rs10 hike on a one-litre pack and Rs5 on a 250ml pack. The new rates now stood at Rs180 per litre and Rs50 per 250ml pack.

Similarly, Olper’s dairy cream prices were being raised to Rs95 from Rs90 on the 125ml pack and to Rs148 from Rs140 on the 200ml pack, he said.

“This is just a trailer and more is to come,” the retailer said, adding that these price jumps were the result of previous rupee devaluation and the resultant high transportation charges.

He said consumers would face more price pressure on various products in the coming days when the companies would pass on the impact of fresh dollar hike and a possible jump in diesel prices.

Published in Dawn, May 12th, 2022

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