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Prices of wheat, onions, spices and cooked food items go up in Pakistan

Maverick Report

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ISLAMABAD: Wheat, onions, spices and cooked food items were among the 21 commodities and services that registered an increase in prices during February as compared to January 2013.

Twenty-one items registered a decrease, while the prices of the remaining 10 remained constant, says a Free and Fair Election Network (FAFEN) report released here on Monday.

food_prices-2FAFEN governance monitors visited 200 retail outlets in 116 districts across Pakistan in February. They noted a further three percent increase in price of wheat grain. Wheat grain had registered an increase of eight 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 fie percent because of the sowing season. In vegetables, the onions saw an increase of eight percent.

The price of cooked items also increased: a plate of vegetables and a plate of beef were all up by three percent each, while the price of plain ‘chapati’ rose by one percent.

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

Region-wise, the prices of ginger increased the most in Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT), followed by the Federally Administered Tribal Areas or FATA (22 percent), Balochistan (17 percent), Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (12 percent), Punjab (11 percent) and Sindh (eight percent).

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Onion prices increased by 11 percent in Punjab and FATA, followed by Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (seven percent) and Sindh (five percent). Garlic, too, witnessed a substantial increase in prices in ICT (25 percent), followed by Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Sindh (eight 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), Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (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 three 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 two percent in Punjab and four percent in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

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Comparing with the data of Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) in February 2013, FAFEN Governance Monitors observed higher prices of fewer commodities in eight districts — Rawalpindi, Sialkot, Lahore, Faisalabad, Multan, Hyderabad, Quetta and Bahawalpur.

However, in four districts (Gujranwala, Karachi, Peshawar and Khuzdar), the PBS observed higher prices of fewer items than those recorded by FAFEN.

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