Sunday, November 7, 2010

10 to 30 percent rise in kitchen items'' prices

10 to 30 percent rise in kitchen items'' prices ABDUL RASHEED AZAD & TAHIR AMIN

 ISLAMABAD  (November 07, 2010) : The prices of the entire range of essential kitchen items have jumped up by 10 to 30 percent within last one week in the twin cities of Islamabad and Rawalpindi, according to a survey conducted by Business Recorder. Traders in Rawalpindi/Islamabad wholesale markets told Business Recorder that prices of most of the food items have risen subsequent to the increase in prices of petroleum products.

As transporters increased transport charges, the prices of vegetables and fruits have also gone up, they said. Traders were, however, baffled as to why sugar prices were going up with each passing day with locally manufactured sugar witnessing a 25 percent increase within the last one week.

Umar Awan, a sugar trader, said that last week 50 kg bag of locally produced sugar was available at Rs 4,400, and this week it is being traded at Rs 5,100. He added that 100 kg bag of imported sugar is being traded at Rs 8,300, while the same quantity of local sugar is being traded at Rs 10,200 in the wholesale market.

He said that last week, sugar was being sold at Rs 90 per kg and this week it is available at Rs 102 per kg. Umar said that general shopkeepers are selling imported and local sugar at the same price, because the general public is unable to differentiate between the local and imported sugar. He added that there is no effective mechanism to compel the shopkeepers to charge just price from the customers.

Survey showed that during the week onion price increased from Rs 50 to Rs 90, karela from Rs 45 to Rs 50 and potato from Rs 40 to Rs 50. Price of apples increased from Rs 80 to Rs 100 per kg, pomegranate from Rs 120 to Rs 140 per kg, tomato from Rs 50 to Rs 60, garlic from Rs 250 to Rs 300 per kg and ginger from Rs 220 to 240, Brinjal (baingan) from Rs 25 to Rs 30.

Other food items which registered increase included dry fruits, cereals, apples, cooking oil/ghee and cooked food. Hotel owners have increased the prices of cooked food like different pulses, vegetables, mutton, chicken and beef from Rs 40 to Rs 50, Rs 30 to Rs 40, Rs 60 to 75, Rs 60 to Rs 75 and Rs 80 to Rs 100, which a common man with 250 daily wages can not afford.

Naseer Ahmed, a shopkeeper at Gunj Mandi Rawalpindi said that within the last two weeks the packed milk suppliers have also increased milk price from Rs 69 to Rs 70 per litre. He said that most used pulses ie mung, malsh, masoor, lobia and gram are being sold at Rs 140, Rs 180, Rs 145 and Rs 135 respectively. Naseer said that tea processing companies like Lipton and Supreme have decreased the size of tea packs while they are charging the same prices.

After the government announced an increase in the prices of petroleum products, manufacturers of cooking oil/ghee increased cooking oil prices by Rs 100 for 16 kg tin, Rs 30 for 5 kg tin and Rs 20 2.5 kg tin. Milk processing companies increased prices of different packets of processed milk by Rs 6, Rs 8, Rs and Rs 12 for 1/4 litre pack; 1/2 litre pack; and 1 litre packs respectively during last four months.

However, prices of some vegetables and fruit ie peas, cabbage, cauliflower, banana, okra and guava, lemon, remained unchanged. Ali Abdullah, a wheat-flour trader, said that during the current year prices of each kitchen item has been on the raise and within a short span of time flour millers have increased the price of 20 kg bag of wheat flour by Rs 55 in the market. He said that in September flour millers were supplying 20 kg normal wheat flour bag to traders at Rs 515, which now they are supplying at Rs 570.

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