KARACHI-During the month of Ramazan, people experience price hike in food products every year, particularly of those that are commonly consumed at homes, restaurants, cafes and caterers during this period.
According to data issued by the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS), the food inflation rate in February, on year-on-year basis, rose to 47 per cent in rural areas, whereas in urban areas it was recorded at 41.9pc.
Media asked caterers whether it was possible to use alternatives or substitutes to basic cooking ingredients like cooking oil, onion, and tomatoes. Hasnain Haider, manager of Burns Road’s famous “Food Centre” said that they could not use any alternative to tomatoes, onions and cooking oil, because any alternative would affect the taste of their dishes.
While the salaried segment of Pakistani Society amid unprecedented inflation and stagnating incomes are all set to experience the toughest Ramazan ever as families will have to limit their purchases, especially food items, due to affordability issues. Drastic cut in salaries for the last four years made much difficult as meeting kitchen expenses in the holy month would be impossible amid skyrocketing prices.
On other hand, massive increases in electricity and gas rates have further multiplied consumers’ woes.
Price comparison based on the data of the Sensitive Price Index (SPI) during the first week of Ramazan in April 2022 to a day ahead of this holy month, consumers remained in distress especially in procuring average quality wheat flour. A 20kg flour bag price has surged to Rs1,295-3,100 in various parts of the country versus Rs800-1,500 per bag last Ramazan. Five- and 10kg branded fine flour bags are now available at Rs820-870 and Rs1,600, showing a rise of 80-90pc over the last year.
Flour no. 2.5 and fine variety were available at Rs65-67 and Rs70-75 per kg which are now tagged at Rs140 and Rs150-160 per kg, respectively.
After price stability in the last week, onion sells at Rs100-200 as compared to Rs40-80 per kg last Ramazan. Consumers are now using Sindh crop as growers made hectic efforts to re-cultivate the crop.
The government had allowed imports to bridge the supply gap following the flood devastation of crops in Sindh and Balochistan in August last year.
Gram Pulse (Daal Channa) rate climbed to Rs220-320 from Rs148-200 per kg. Masoor, Moong and Mash rates surged to Rs240-330, Rs250-350 and Rs280-480 per kg from Rs190-240, Rs116-220 and Rs200-310 per kg since the last Ramazan.
As per SPI data, one kg ghee pouch of Dalda rose to Rs570-638 from Rs399-484. Five-litre Dalda cooking oil rate went up to Rs3,000-3,510 from Rs2,060-2,485. However, many retailers are demanding Rs650-670 for branded cooking oil and ghee.
Fresh milk rates in various cities now hover between Rs120-210 per litre as compared to Rs90-150 a year back. One kg live poultry bird rate ranges between Rs360-550 per kg versus Rs240-350.