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Prices of wheat, onions, spices on the rise




  • Wheat, onions, spices and cooked food items were among the 21 commodities and services that registered an increase in price during February as compared to January 2013. Twenty-one registered a decrease, while the prices of the remaining 10 remained constant, says a Free and Fair Election Network (FAFEN) report released on Monday. 

    FAFEN governance monitors visited 200 retail outlets in 116 districts across Pakistan in February. They noted a further 3 percent increase in price of wheat grain. Wheat grain had registered an increase of 8 percent during the preceding month. A high increase in prices of spices and condiments was recorded: the price of ginger rose by 10 percent while garlic’s price went up by 5 percent because of the sowing season. In vegetables, the onions saw an increase of 8 percent. The price of cooked items also increased: a plate of vegetables and a plate of beef were all up by 3 percent each, while the price of plain chappati rose by 1 percent. 

    The price of masoor pulse, gram pulse and washed moong were up by 2 percent each; the price of beef were up by 2 percent and that of mutton were up by 1 percent. In dairy products, fresh milk and yoghurt also registered price increase of 1 percent each. 

    Region-wise, the price of ginger increased the most in Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT), followed by the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (22 percent), Balochistan (17 percent), Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (12 percent), Punjab (11 percent) and Sindh (8 percent). Onion price increased by 11 percent in Punjab and Fata, followed by KP (7 percent) and Sindh (5 percent). Garlic, too, reported a substantial increase in prices in ICT (25 percent), followed by KP and Sindh (8 percent each). 

    Let up in the intensity of winters resulted in reduced prices of farm eggs (24 percent lower than January) and LPG (10 percent lower). The prices of farm eggs dropped in all regions with the highest cut reported in Punjab (32 percent), followed by ICT (29 percent), Sindh (24 percent), Fata (20 percent), KP (19 percent) and Balochistan (10 percent). FAFEN observers also recorded a 14 percent reduction in the prices of tomatoes. 

    In the medicines and medical services category, FAFEN monitors reported an overall increase of 3 percent in price of blood sugar test. However, there were great variances between regions. The price of the test went up by 60 percent in ICT, but fell 2 percent in Punjab and 4 percent in KP. 

    Copyright Business Recorder, 2013

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