ISLAMABAD, August 31, 2010: Food commodities have registered a sharp increase in prices during August as compared to July 2010, perhaps due to Ramadan factor and current flood situation in the country.The consumers living in flood hit regions are suffering even more, according to FAFEN’s Monthly Retail Price Monitor released here Tuesday.
As many as 49 consumer commodities and services registered an average increase of 8%, while a total of 29 food items have registered a cumulative increase of 12 percentage points during August 2010 as compared to July.
The flood situation in many agriculturally rich districts has crippled supplies,triggering hike in the prices of fresh food items in the holy month of Ramadan when consumption of certain items rises heavily. The prices of tomato, potato, onion and garlic considerably increased across the country during the month of August as compared to July.In comparison with the previous month, tomato prices went up by 126%, potato by 39%, onion 28% and garlic 16%, in August. It is important to note here that the prices of three of these most commonly used vegetables (tomatoes, potatoes and garlic) had registered an increase in July too.
During the month of August 2010, FAFEN Governance Monitors collected prices of 69 commodities and services at retail outlets in 118 National Assembly constituencies in 76 districts in the four provinces, Federally Administrated Tribal Areas (FATA) and Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT).
According to FAFEN’s Retail Price Monitor— part of FAFEN’s nationwide initiative to monitor governance processes under its Democratic Governance Program, gram whole and gram pulse observed a price increase of 9% and 8%, respectively, during August. In meat, chicken, beef and mutton prices went up by 7%, 4% and 3% respectively. Price of sugar registered an increase of 7% as did vegetable oil, 5%.
The price hike in flood stricken districts was even worse. In the 18 selected flood hit districts, tomato prices went as high as 187% against 126% nationwide increase. Similarly, onion prices raised by 28% nationwide while the inflation rate in the price of this crucial kitchen item in flood hit districts was 44%. Certain commodities the prices of which actually decreased in the national sample, shot up in flood hit districts. The commodities include apple (1% decrease nationwide and 14% increase in flood hit districts), washing powder (0.2% decrease nationwide and 9% increase in flood hit areas), butter (5% decrease nationwide and 7% increase in affected districts) and basmati rice (6.3% decrease nationwide and 0.3% increase in flood hit areas). Flood affected people had to pay more for firewood, meat and vegetable oil as well as some medical services as compared to consumers of unaffected areas.
During the month of August, 49 consumer commodities and services registered an increase as compared to July when the prices of 35 items had increased. Similarly, only 19 consumer items were available at relatively cheaper prices in August as compared to July when 28 consumer items were available at cheaper rates as opposed to June 2010.
FAFEN is a network of 35 civil society organizations working to foster democratic accountabilities in Pakistan. It is governed by Trust for Democratic Education and Accountability. For more information please visit www.fafen.org.