Wheat flour is the staple food in Pakistan but its price has reached the highest level in the country’s history with the low-income groups finding it hard to meet the minimum nutritional needs, which will long-term negative effects on health.
The rising flour prices show a complete failure of the provincial governments to control the trend for whatever reasons may be as inflation has stretched the people to their limits.
After the 18th Amendment, the provinces are responsible for ensuring price control as agriculture too was listed as a provincial subject.
In Karachi, the price stands at any between Rs120 to Rs150 per kg, which means a five-kg bag is available from Rs600 to Rs750.
However, the flour is a little cheaper – Rs80 per kg – a price tag not affordable for many who, for the first time in life, are now forced to reduce the staple food’s intake, which can have devastating effects on health in the future.
But in Peshawar, one kilogramme flour is available for Rs175. It means the price of eight-kg bag of flour is Rs1,500 while a 20-kg bag costs Rs2,700.
As a result, tandoors in Karachi and Lahore are charging Rs18 for a roti and Rs25 for a naan while the rates in Peshawar range between Rs20 to Rs40.
One must remember that the per person protein consumption in Pakistan is already very low and this reduction in carbohydrate intake will only multiply the issue.
Market surveys have already revealed that the meat – mutton and beef – consumption is already on the further decline since 2018.
In this connection, a shop owner said those from the low-income groups had reduced buying meat by at least 40 percent.
On the other hand, the skyrocketing prices of chicken [also eggs] mean that cheapest form of meat is also now out of reach for the majority.