ISLAMABAD - National Price Monitoring Committee (NPMC) has noted that chicken prices have increased in the country due to the supply disruptions, which are linked with sudden increase in demand of chicken.

The NPMC headed by Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin noted that there has been increase in the price of chicken due to supply disruptions. These disruptions are linked with sudden increase in demand of chicken. But it was ensured that the prices of chicken will be back to normal price in near future. Market sources informed The Nation that chicken prices increased due to the outbreak of the lumpy skin disease in cattle. Demand of chicken increased after the disease. According to the latest Sensitive Price Indicator (SPI), the price of chicken all over the country during the week ending March 3 had risen by 10.47 percent. In the first week of February, live bird was available at Rs190-210 per kg while the meat was sold at Rs350-380. However, the price of live bird has now jumped to around Rs300 to Rs330 per kg in different part of the country.

The NPMC reviewed the prices and stock of basic food commodities. Secretary Ministry of National Food Security and Research (NFS&R) informed on the stock position of wheat and further apprised on the future requirements and the strategy for sustainable availability of wheat in the country. The chair directed the Balochistan authorities to ensure stability in the prices of wheat flour by maintaining the daily release of wheat to the flour mills. The finance minister asked the relevant authorities to analyze and estimate the wheat stocks closely.

The NPMC was also apprised on the sugar prices in the country. Secretary Ministry of Industries and Production briefed the meeting on the process for building strategic reserves of sugar in the country to maintain stability in prices. Sugar price is at Rs. 89 again with a decline of -0.3% which is highly plausible. NPMC was also briefed on the prices of pulses in the country. NPMC was informed that there was stability in price of gram pulse, while price of Moong pulse decreased by Rs. 6 per kg during last six weeks. Price of Mash pulse decreased by Rs. 3 per kg during last six weeks and price of Masoor pulse decreased by Rs. 2 per kg during last six weeks. It was apprised that prices of eggs decreased by Rs. 32 per dozen during last 6 weeks and overall there is improvement in market supply of eggs, onions, potatoes and tomatoes. The price of potatoes has decreased by Rs. 4 per kg during last 6 weeks.

On the prices of palm oil and soybean in the country, Secretary Ministry of Industries and Production informed the meeting on available stocks of edible oil. The finance minister asked for researching on alternatives to minimize the dependency on import of these products and asked for devising a strategic plan for meeting the demand. It was informed to the chair that sufficient amount of stock of soybean and palm oil is available to meet the arising demand in the country. The meeting also discussed fertilizer situation and was informed that there is no shortage of fertilizers and urea in the country. M/o Industries and Production in consultation with M/o NFS&R and provincial governments has been asked to make a plan for provision of subsidy for DAP to farmers before the upcoming Kharif season. Economic Adviser Finance Division briefed the NPMC about weekly SPI which witnessed increase of 0.04 percent as compared to increase in previous week by 0.51 percent. 33 food items contributed increase in the SPI by 0.32 percent, whereas 18 non-food items contributed decrease of 0.28 percent to the SPI.

NPMC was informed that prices of 19 items remained stable in the last week. The prices of 13 items decreased contributing decline in SPI by 1.16%. The items which contributed in decline included petrol by -0.53%, eggs by -0.11%, tomatoes by -0.51% and others by 0.01%. Prices of 19 items slightly increased that led to increase in SPI by 1.20% which included chicken by 0.34%, fresh milk by 0.25%, LPG by 0.23% and others by 0.38%. NPMC was informed that prices of tomatoes, eggs, hi-speed diesel, petrol super, garlic, pulse moog, pulse masoor, onions, wheat flour bag, sugar, potatoes, pulse mash, gur and chillies powder have shown decline in the prices during the last week. It was informed that prices of onion are lowest as compared to its prices 3 years earlier. The chair directed M/o Commerce to formulate a viable plan for price determination of potatoes. The chair re-directed Ministry of NFS&R to expedite the process to formulate forecasting unit for major and minor crops for timely decision making. In the concluding remarks, the finance minister commended the efforts being undertaken for stabilizing the prices of essential items successfully and measures to ensure smooth supply of essential commodities throughout the country.