During the month of August 2010, FAFEN Governance Monitors collected prices of 69 commodities and services at retail outlets in 118 National Assembly constituencies of 76 districts in four provinces including Federally Administrated Tribal Areas (FATA) and Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT). The prices of four most commonly used vegetables- tomato, potato, onion and garlic registered a high increase in the month of August as compared to July 2010.
Tomato prices went up by 126% during August as compared to July 2010. Similarly, potato prices increased by 39% while the prices of onion and garlic increased by 28% and 16%, respectively. These prices were collected on August 10, one day before the advent of Ramadan.
The Ramadan factor and the prevailing flood situation crippled supplies of these commodities to markets, where such vegetables are grown on a large scale resulting in the extraordinary increase in prices of fresh vegetables. The Price hike in the flood affected areas was relatively higher, as opposed to other regions across the country. The prices of tomato and potato have consistently increased, across the country during the last two months. In fact, in some regions their prices have been on the rise since the past five months. Tomato prices have registered an increase of 190% in August as compared to its prices in April 2010, reflecting a 31% increase per month across the country in the past five months. The prices of this commodity escalated in Sindh by 282%, Punjab 204%, FATA 191%, KP 167% and Balochistan 48% during the above mentioned period.
Similarly, potato prices soared by 103% in August as compared to April across the country. This implies an increase of 19% per month between April and August 2010. Potato prices were extraordinarily high in Punjab, where they went up by 201%, followed by 100% in FATA, 55% in KP, 48% in Sindh and 36% in Balochistan during this period. Garlic prices increase by 16% in August as compared to July 2010.
Due to an increase in the prices of these four crucial kitchen items, consumers across the country had to pay more for gram black (9% price increase in August as compared to July), gram pulse (8% increase), sugar (7%), chicken (7%), bananas (5%), beef (4%) mutton 3% and vegetable oil (5%). The consumption of these items considerably increases during Ramadan.
In fuel, LPG prices went up by 7%, petrol 5% and firewood 1% across the country during August as compared to July. Electricity cost was also raised by 4%. Some medical services like urine test and blood test registered an increase of 10% and 8%, respectively, in the reporting month. This figure stood at 35 in the previous month. Similarly, only 19 consumer items were available at relatively cheaper prices in August as compared to July when 28 consumer items were available at cheaper rates as opposed to June 2010. The price hike indicates that the Ramadan and flood factors have further added to the burden of consumers during August 2010.
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