KARACHI: Taking advantage of the ineffective price checking mechanism, the powerful poultry lobby has further increased the rate of live bird to Rs220 per kg from Rs200.
Boneless chicken, which was available at Rs320-350 per kg in the second week of March, is now selling at Rs540 per kg, beating the price of beef (veal) without bones.
Depending on the area, some retailers are demanding Rs370-390 per kg for chicken which was previously sold at Rs360 per kg.
By the second week of March, consumers were purchasing live bird at Rs120-140 per kg and its meat at Rs220-240 per kg.
A probe ordered by Finance Minister Ishaq Dar in a meeting of the National Price Monitoring Committee (NPMC) last week has yet to produce any positive results, leaving consumers at the mercy of the poultry mafia.
Currently, beef/veal (with bones) is selling at Rs380-400 per kg while good quality beef without bones is selling at Rs480-520 per kg depending on the area.
Blaming rising wholesale prices, chicken retailers said consumers have definitely curtailed their purchase and most of them walk away after hearing the rates.
A poultry farmer said sales to domestic consumers came down by 20-25 per cent due to high prices but this was being compensated by a strong demand from the commercial side — caterers, hoteliers. Prices are under pressure due to the demand and supply gap, he added.
Sugar, wheat become pricey
In other commodities, retail price of sugar rose to Rs65 from Rs63 per kg in the last few days despite huge stocks in the country.
Earlier in February 2016, sugar price jumped to Rs60-62 per kg after the government doled out Rs6.5 billion (Rs13 per kg) as export subsidy to millers in December 2015 when price was Rs55 per kg.
On Dec 8, 2015, the government allowed 500,000 tonnes of sugar exports with a subsidy of Rs13 per kg till March 31, 2016. In the first phase, 200,000 tonnes were allowed to be exported by Dec 31 and then 350,000 tonnes by Jan 31.
Sugar stocks were registered at 2.9 million tonnes against 2.5m tonnes last year. A declining trend in the world market since past one year has kept exports depressed.
However, the government had set a target of 500,000 tonnes for sugar exports.
According to figures of Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS), sugar exports fell to 167,306 tonnes ($75m) in July-February 2015-2016 as compared to 353,120 tonnes ($164m) in the same period last fiscal.
Sugar production in July-January 2015-16 stood at 2.366m tonnes as compared to 2.4m tonnes in the corresponding period of last fiscal year.