The price of wheat flour registered a significant increase of Rs 7 per kg and Rs 110 per 20-kilogram bag across the country, traders and flour millers said. According to them, prices have been increased because of the reduction in wheat quota by provincial food departments to mills. Traders said that flour-millers were selling the commodity at arbitrary prices, saying that they were increasing wheat flour price almost on a daily basis, forcing retailer to sell it at higher rates.
The price of normal quality of wheat flour registered an increase of Rs 90 per 20kg bag, while fine quality flour price has increased by Rs 110 per 20kg bag. Following the increase in wheat flour price, Tandoor owners also increased the price of a Roti by Rs 1 and of a Nan by Rs 2. The Punjab food department reduced wheat supply from 40,000 tons a day to 22,000 tons to flourmills across the province, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Food Department from 7,000 tons a day to 2,500 tons while Sindh has almost stopped wheat supply to flourmills, which has put extreme pressure on Punjab, an official of All Pakistan Flourmills Association said. Balochistan, where flour price touched Rs 750 per 20kg bag, is completely dependent on the supply of foodgrain from Punjab and Sindh. The price of the commodity surged by Rs 121 per 20kg bag in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Asim Raza Ahmed, a flour-miller, told Business Recorder.
He said that the price had been increased in the wake of high demand and low supply, adding that it as also affected by smuggling of wheat flour to Afghanistan. According to him, the impact of the current hike in wheat support price, fixed at Rs 1,200 per 40kg against the previous rate of Rs 1050, would also be passed on to consumers by May or June, he said.
“Flour-millers have requested the government for the release of 500,000 ton of wheat. If the government accepts our request, the commodity prices will come down, otherwise it may further increase,” Asim Raza Ahmed said. He said that the Sindh government had abruptly stopped the wheat supply to flourmills, creating serious problems for the people of Sindh and Balochistan, where price of a 20kg bag touched Rs 780 or Rs 40 per kilogram. On Friday, a 20kg flour bag was being sold at Rs 680 against the previous rate of Rs 590, while fine-quality flour was available at Rs 710 against the previous price of Rs 600 per 20kg bag.
During the past two weeks, the price of standard wheat flour witnessed an increase Rs 90 per 20kg and fine-quality wheat flour Rs 110 per 20kg bag. After the increase in wheat support price, every 20kg bag of flour was expected to cross Rs 800 in Punjab whereas in other provinces, it was expected to touch at Rs 850 per 20kg bag, said Mohammad Rizwan Awan, another flour dealer.