Why is the price of flour increasing in Pakistan? These factors are the reason, due to these reasons the shortage of food grains
For the last several weeks, the price of wheat flour in Pakistan is at a very high level. Roti and naan are among the staple food items of the country and the steep rise in flour prices has left people in dire straits. Long queues can be seen to collect the government subsidized flour. A stampede at one such distribution site in Sindh’s Mirpur Khas killed a 35-year-old man on 7 January.
The central and provincial governments have blamed each other for the crisis. And experts say it is due to long-standing deficits from the Russia-Ukraine war, the devastating floods of 2022 and wheat smuggling in Afghanistan. A consignment of wheat from Russia has now reached Pakistan and some relief is expected in the coming weeks.
In the two wheat producing states of Punjab and Sindh, flour is selling around Pakistani Rupee (PKR) 145/kg to 160 Pakistani rupees/kg. While prices have been higher in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan. According to an article in Gulf News, the prices of 5 kg and 10 kg bags of flour in Pakistan have almost doubled compared to a year ago. In the same article it has been said that in Islamabad and Rawalpindi, a naan is being sold for 30 Pakistani rupees while a roti is being sold for 25 Pakistani rupees.
What caused the crisis?
Pakistan imports wheat to meet its consumption needs, the bulk of which comes from Russia and Ukraine. For example, according to data from the Observatory of Economic Complexity (OEC), Pakistan imported wheat worth $1.01 billion in 2020, most of which came from Ukraine ($496 million), followed by Russia ($394 million). . This year’s war disrupted that supply, while last year’s floods brought down domestic produce. The report said the problem in Pakistan is more of distribution than insufficient stocks.
Ammar Khan, an economy expert with Karandaaz Pakistan, told The Indian Express, “Wheat prices shot up massively in Sindh and Balochistan as significant stocks were lost due to floods. Smuggling of wheat into Afghanistan is also a factor, resulting in local shortages, driving up prices. However, there is sufficient stock of wheat in government godowns. The delay in delivery led to the shortage and consequential price hike, which is now being addressed.”
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