Milk, bread, butter almost snatched from hard-pressed consumers

Published June 6, 2022
Workers belonging to different labour organisations stage a rally at Regal Chowk on Sunday in protest over record inflation.—Shakil Adil / White Star
Workers belonging to different labour organisations stage a rally at Regal Chowk on Sunday in protest over record inflation.—Shakil Adil / White Star

• Milk price increased by Rs20 to reach Rs170 per litre
• Bread, butter rates to be raised by 16-17pc from 10th

KARACHI: After meteoric rise in flour, cooking oil, rice, electricity, gas, diesel and petrol rates, another price bomb has been dropped on already hard-pressed consumers, who are struggling to make both ends meet, as stakeholders in the dairy sector and bread manufacturers have raised the prices of essential items of breakfast.

The trend of increasing prices of essential food items is more painful for those whose income is either remained static or have mercilessly been cut over the past few years.

While dairy farmers and milk retailers always giving an impression of being at loggerheads with each other over price issues, they on Sunday unanimously announced an increase of Rs20 per litre in price and took the per litre rate of fresh milk to Rs170 while yogurt would be sold from now on at Rs280 instead of Rs240 per kg.

“The new rates will be effective from June 6,” media coordinator of the Karachi Milk Retailers Association (KMRA) Waheed Gaddi said, while blaming jump in wholesale rates for the retail price hike of fresh milk.

The stakeholders in the dairy sector had raised milk prices from Rs140 per litre to Rs150 this year in March.

The unchecked price hike by stakeholders has made the role of commissioner of Karachi in regulating prices of essential items highly questionable.

The commissioner had fixed the retail rate of fresh milk at Rs120 per litre in December 2021, but his decision was never enforced in practice.

Consumers speaking to Dawn said that the meetings called by the commissioner with the dairy sector had only been held to demonstrate that the government cared a lot about the masses.

On the other hand, dairy farmers and milk retailers are indulged in blame games over prices leaving the consumers in misery.

This game of face-saving by the commissioner as well as stakeholders has been in vogue for the past many years, the consumers said.

They that they were now waiting for some price relief from the regulator and urged the authorities to intervene and bring down the prices.

Bread, bakery item prices

The general secretary of the Karachi Bread Association (KBA), Haroon Iqbal Sheikh, said that the association had decided to increase prices of bread and confectionery items by 16-17 per cent in the first phase, effective from June 10.

He said the decision was taken in view of 35-40pc increase in the cost of production over the past six months.

“We may further raise prices by 10-15pc more in July/August as the cost of production is

going further up after another Rs30 per litre rise in diesel rates and increase in power and gas tariff,” he warned.

After the price hike, large, medium, small and mini plain breads will be sold at Rs160, Rs130, Rs90 and Rs60, while ‘milky’ medium, small and mini breads will be sold at Rs131, Rs91 and Rs61 respectively.

The new prices of bran bread and mini bun are fixed at Rs130 and Rs15, respectively.

Giving reasons for the price hike, he said that wrapper price went up to Rs960 per kilogram from Rs480 followed by Rs635 per litre in cooking oil price from Rs366.

Mr Haroon added that the price of food-grade chemicals used to enhance bread life had risen to Rs760 from Rs440 per kg while super-fine flour (Maida) rate had swelled to Rs81 from Rs74 per kg. “Yeast rate is now Rs255 per kg versus Rs226 per kg while utility and transportation charges have also escalated by over 40pc in the past six months.”

Milk products — butter, ghee Retailers said the Nurpur butter of 50gm and 100gm packs were now priced at Rs110 and Rs220 as compared to Rs100 and Rs200.

The Blue Band butter of 50gm, 100gm, 200gm, 250gm and 500gm packs are now available at Rs60, Rs120, Rs240, Rs360 and Rs600 as compared to Rs50, Rs120, Rs190, Rs290 and Rs520 of earlier rates.

In other items, consumers are paying Rs605 per litre for cooking oil and Rs555 for ghee at Utility Stores, while a few days ago these products were selling at Rs213 and Rs208 respectively.

Retailers said rice prices had also jumped by up to Rs130 per kg while after a raise in prices last month chakki flour is now selling at Rs95-100 per kg followed by Rs90 per kg fine flour and Rs80-85 per kg for flour No2.5.

Published in Dawn, June 6th, 2022

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