ISLAMABAD, July 30, 2010: Prices of most food items have registered an increase in July 2010 in most parts of the country, warranting a prompt government action to enforce price control mechanisms or ensuring steady supplies of items that are most used during the holy month of Ramadan set to begin in mid-August.
Prices of fresh food items like tomatoes, potatoes, garlic and mangoes increased in July 2010 as compared to the preceding month in most parts of the country, according to FAFEN’s Retail Price Monitor, released here Friday.
The prices of the two most commonly used vegetables – tomatoes and potatoes – registered high increases of 35% and 11%, respectively. Garlic price went up by 9% in July as compared to June 2010. Potato and garlic prices continued an upward trend for the second consecutive month. Mango prices, which were quite low in June, went up by 6% in July. Sugar prices also increased by 7%, perhaps as information of inadequate stocks of this commodity started reaching the market, with fears of yet another sugar crisis.
During the month of July 2010, FAFEN Governance Monitors collected prices of 69 commodities and services at retail outlets in 129 National Assembly constituencies in 82 districts in the four provinces, Federally Administrated Tribal Areas (FATA) and Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT).
According to FAFEN’s Retail Price Monitor- part of FAFEN’s nationwide initiative to monitor governance processes under its Democratic Governance Program-meat prices also increased in July as compared to June, with beef increasing by 5%, chicken by 3% and mutton by 2%, indicating that prices of meats may further increase during Ramadan. Fresh milk and yogurt prices also registered an increase of 2% each. Basmati rice price was up slightly in July (1% as compared to June prices), while the price of Rice Irri was up by 3% nationally. The prices of mash, lobia, gram and moong pulses were up by 4%, 3%, 2% and 1%, respectively. Firewood prices registered an increase of 8% in the reporting month as compared to the preceding one.
While 35 consumer commodities and services registered increases in price, 28 consumer items were available at relatively cheaper prices in July as compared to June. In general-use consumer items, the price of washing powder and toothpaste decreased by 19% and 6%, respectively, in July as compared with June. Apples were available at 13% lower prices. Dry dates and bananas were also relatively cheaper in July as compared to June 2010 (7% and 4% decrease in price, respectively).
There was a wide regional variance in terms of changes in the prices of some essential commodities. For instance, the price of tomatoes, the food item with the most fluctuating price, registered an increase of 62% in Punjab and 61% in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa as compared to just 8% in Sindh. In contrast, the price of the same commodity decreased by 14% in the province of Balochistan, which enjoyed the harvesting season of this commodity in reporting month. There was a nominal increase of 1% in the price of Basmati rice nationwide, but it increased by 28% in FATA.
FAFEN is a network of 35 civil society organizations working to foster democratic accountabilities in Pakistan. It is governed by Trust for Democratic Education and Accountability. For more information please visit www.fafen.org.
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