Sindh millers cut flour prices by Rs10 a kg
KARACHI: After manipulating prices to a record peak in recent weeks, Sindh flour millers have brought down rates of various varieties by Rs10 per kg to show some mercy to consumers ahead of Ramazan.
The price of 50kg bag of flour no.2.5 has been reduced to Rs6,400 (Rs128 per kg) from Rs6,900. The rate of fine flour and maida has been cut to Rs6,500 per 50 kg bag (Rs130 per kg) from Rs7,000.
Pakistan Flour Mills Association (PFMA), Sindh Zone, Chairman Chaudhry Aamir Abdullah said the prices had been reduced in a good faith after the Sindh Food Department officials during a meeting held on Friday assured growers and millers that wheat-loaded trucks arriving from the interior into Karachi would not be seized.
Millers complained that the food department officials forcefully impounded these trucks and unloaded wheat at government godowns in Landhi to achieve wheat procurement targets.
Another reason for the downward trend in prices was the start of wheat arrival from the new crop in the open market which had eased supply pressures leading to improved availability of wheat.
He said the food department officials listened to millers’ grievances and promised to amicably resolve the issue.
He anticipated that following a fruitful meeting it was expected that the wheat price may come down next week to Rs10,500 per 100kg bag from Rs12,000.
Meanwhile, a miller said that Karachi requires 10,000 tonnes of wheat per day for grinding but some 3,000-4,000 tonnes are being supplied. Hopefully, the supply situation of wheat arrival from interior Sindh would improve next week after removing bottlenecks in the way of wheat arrival to Karachi.
The practice of seizing wheat trucks arriving in Karachi from the interior Sindh had remained in vogue for many years while millers kept asking the Sindh Food Department to procure wheat from the growers on their own instead of seizing the vehicles of the private sector and growers destined for Karachi which is not a wheat growing city.
According to PBS data, the rate of 20kg bag of wheat in Karachi rose to Rs2,900-3,100 during the week ending March 16 from Rs2,800-2,900. Exactly a year back, it was available at Rs1,100-1,440.
Wheat flour prices had swelled despite the imports of 2.2 million tonnes costing $876 million in 8MFY23 as compared to 2m tonnes valuing $752m in the same period last year. The average per tonne wheat price of grain stood at $397 in 8MFY23 as compared to $359 in the same period last year.
Published in Dawn, March 19th, 2023