Prices of wheat flour varieties increased by Rs 6 per kg

KARACHI: Amid struggles for consumers to deal with high food prices and utility bills, flour mill owners on Tuesday increased the prices of different varieties of flour by Rs 6 per kg.

The new rate of flour no. 2.5 has been fixed at Rs 88 per kg which was Rs 82 per kg last week and Rs 78 per kg in the last week of May.

Similarly, the price of maida and maida is Rs 91 per kg as against Rs 85 per kg last week. The price of these varieties of maida was kept at Rs 81 in the third week of May.

talking dawnA miller quoted a new rate of Rs 885 for a 10 kg sack of flour, which was Rs 785 a month ago.

A retailer said the price of chakki flour has gone up to Rs 100 from Rs 90 a month ago. Branded bags of 10 kg of Bake Parlor and Ashrafi Maida sell for Rs 950, while a 5 kg bag costs between Rs 480 and Rs 490.

According to a flour miller in Karachi, the producers have been demanding seamless movement of wheat from the growing regions of Sindh to Karachi for more than a month. The Sindh Food Department had set up check posts in inner Sindh to curb the free movement of food grains in Karachi.

He attributed the rise in open market prices for 100 kg wheat flour sacks – which are now selling for Rs 7,800-8,000, up to Rs 7,200 from the third week of May – as well as rising transport costs for diesel last month. The rates have increased by Rs 119 per litre.

Karachi, being a non-wheat producing region, has been facing wheat crisis since the beginning of the wheat procurement season. He said that the mill owners in Karachi could not tolerate any delay in the arrival of food grains from Inner Sindh.

He said that the Sindh Food Department had only given hollow assurances to the mill owners about resumption of free movement of wheat from inner Sindh to Karachi, but no practical steps had been taken.

Meanwhile, the Pakistan Flour Millers Association (PFMA) had requested that the Food Department either completely stop the supply of wheat from Sindh regions to Karachi or ensure complete availability of food grains. “This cat and mouse game by the food department may result in any untoward situation in the coming days, such as stopping the supply of flour to the megacity. In this situation, the food department will be responsible,” the PFMA said.

Last month, the association urged Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif to allow free movement of wheat and wheat products to ensure the availability of basic food items at reasonable prices.

“Flour mills along with government agencies also buy wheat from the open market. There should be no restriction on the purchase of wheat by the mill owners,” emphasized the PFMA.

Published in Dawn, June 22, 2022