The post-Eidul Fitr situation appears more challenging for the consumers following record-high prices of chicken, onion and lemon.
With no check from the government, the retail price of chicken meat (clean) has hit a new peak of Rs620-670 per kilogram from 600-640 in the last week of Ramazan. Similarly, the live bird rate is now tagged at Rs400-430 per kg against Rs370 before Eid.
Boneless chicken now costs Rs900-920 per kg as compared to Rs800 per kg, thus reaching almost on a par with veal boneless meat at Rs900-1,000 per kg depending on the area. However, veal meat with bone is currently selling at Rs750-800 per kg.
Before Ramazan, the live bird rate was hovering between Rs300-300 per kg followed by Rs500 per kg for meat (clean) while boneless was available at Rs700 per kg.
Retailers continued to repeat stereotyped excuses of short supplies from the farms against the high demand which was further triggered by the start of the marriage season after Eidul Fitr.
They said that consumers still prefer chicken over mutton and veal as many consumers still have doubts over lumpy skin disease (LSD) in cattle farms of Sindh.
They said that instead of taking stern action against the powerful lobby of poultry farmers, the price regulator had only imposed meagre fines on a few retailers for overcharging the consumers during the holy month.
Karachi Wholesalers Poultry Association General Secretary Kamal Akhtar Siddiqui said the arrival of poultry birds from Punjab, which was going on till the middle of Ramazan, had now stopped as rates there had also gone up.
He said after suffering losses, the poultry farmers had not invested in production.
Besides, the preparation of birds has been delayed during the summer.
He said as many as one million birds were being slaughtered daily in Karachi.
He said farm and wholesale rates of live birds were Rs350 and Rs370 per kg while the retail rate is Rs 540 per kg but retailers were enjoying a free hand to charge prices at their whims.
Commissioner Karachi’s rate of live bird and its meat at Rs235 and Rs365 per kg had never been implemented either during and post-Ramazan, leaving the consumers at the mercy of the poultry mafia.
Meanwhile, onion price in Karachi has shot up to Rs100 per kg from Rs80 during Ramazan while lemon price ranges between Rs800-1,200 per kg depending on the quality and locality of the city. Surprisingly, Commissioner Karachi’s rates for lemon and onion are Rs483 and Rs66 per kg.
Falahi Anjuman Wholesale Vegetable Market New Subzi Mandi Super Highway President Haji Shahjehan said Sindh’s onion crop has almost come to an end and some remaining stocks are finding their way into Punjab and Karachi thus causing price hikes in the local market.
He said the onion crop from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa would arrive in May followed by Balochistan’s in June. The new Sindh crop would start hitting the markets in October.
He said good quality onion from the leftover Sindh crop is available at Rs2,500-3,000 per 40 kg in the mandi.
Shahjehan said the trading activities at the mandi have been slow due to the prevailing eid holiday mood as outstation workers are returning from their native places while the arrival of vegetables from the upcountry would also gain pace by Sunday.