KARACHI: Despite a fall in the transportation charges caused by a cut of Rs35 a litre in the diesel rate over the last 15 days, stakeholders shocked consumers by raising the price of retail fresh milk by raising Rs10 a litre from Thursday, thus pushing up the daily cost of breakfast as well as bill for children’s milk.

With the fresh rise, the price of milk in Karachi has become Rs220 per litre.

In February this year, stakeholders had increased the loose milk price by Rs20 per litre.

Milk price fixed by the commissioner Karachi has so far proved to be an eyewash for consumers. The official retail price of milk had been jacked up to Rs180 per litre from Rs170 on December 16, 2022. However, retailers, after refusing to sell milk at the official rate, started demanding Rs190 per litre from consumers.

Although the December 16, 2022 notification is still in force, consumers continued to receive price shocks as the rate has again been increased to Rs220 per litre in the city. The commissioner Karachi appears helpless to rescue the interest of consumers.

Retailers continue to disregard Dec 2022 notification fixing the price at Rs180 per litre

Media coordinator of the Karachi Milk Retailers Association Waheed Gaddi has said that 70 per cent of milk shops in Karachi are selling milk at Rs220 per litre now, while the rest will follow suit.

He said the prices of by-products of milk like yogurt and Lassi would remain pegged to their old prices.

Farmers had fixed the rate of 37.5 litre of milk at Rs7,070 (at farmers’ gate) which was Rs6,750 in February 2023.

He claimed that the dairy farmers had planned to raise the rate by Rs30 per litre but retailers resisted the move and later the raise was settled at Rs10 per litre.

He said dairy farmers attributed the price hike to the rising cost of animal feed.

When asked why the milk price had been increased despite a drop of Rs35 per litre in diesel rate, he said stakeholders were not sure whether diesel prices would jump or fall in the next fortnight. However, it was agreed to pass on the impact of falling diesel and feed prices to consumers in case their prices further declined and stayed unchanged for a longer period.

He said the commissioner Karachi had fixed the dairy farmer and wholesale rate of milk at Rs163 and Rs170 per litre, respectively, on December 16, 2022 but retailers had yet to get milk at the notified rates, which was the responsibility of the government to ensure it.

In this situation, where the government and stakeholders are at odds, consumers are the main losers not only in terms of milk rate but also with respect to a hike in those items which are not available at the official rates.

He said Karachi’s overall consumption of milk, including powder, tetra and flavored milk, is estimated at five million litres a day. This figure is based on the assumption that 200 million people consume milk as against the estimated population of 300 million.

Published in Dawn, June 2nd, 2023

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