KARACHI: Retailers continue charging higher prices of gram pulse (dal channa), white gram (kabuli channa) and black gram (kala channa) despite Rs10 per kg drop at wholesale level.
Wholesalers said that the price of gram pulse dropped to Rs94 from Rs104, white gram to Rs98 from Rs112 and black gram to Rs85 from Rs95 a kg.
However, retailers were selling the gram pulse at Rs130, white gram at Rs130-140 and black gram at Rs110-120 per kg.
In January 2015, the retail price of gram pulse was Rs75-80 per kg, while white and black grams were selling at Rs115 and Rs88 a kg, respectively.
Keeping in view the rising rates, the government in September 2015 allowed the import of 50,000 tonnes of gram pulse to control its prices in view of lower domestic production, but it didn’t work.
Karachi Wholesalers Grocers Association (KWGA) Chairman Anis Majeed said traders imported large quantities of Australian gram whole (sabut) after its price plunged to $675-700 from $750-800 per tonne one-and-a-half month back, resulting in a glut.
“They are now trying to clear the stock,” he said.
Consumers are not benefitting from the declining wholesale prices in absence of any effective rate checking mechanism at the retailers’ end. Gram pulse importers are facing problems amid falling demand as buyers have shifted to cheap vegetables.
According to Pakistan Bureau of Statistics, overall import of pulses grew significantly to 450,202 tonnes ($268 million) in July-December 2015-16 from 305,109 tonnes ($187m) in the same period last year.
He said yearly consumption of gram pulse stands between 650,000-700,000 tonnes but the local production has been showing fluctuations, 400,000 to 1m tonnes in previous years.
The new crop which would find its way into the market in March-April 2016 may hover between 500,000-600,000 tonnes.