Pakistanis in a fix over deepening food price disparities.

KARACHI -- Higher import and transportation costs, crop availability, the demand and supply gap, hoarding, exchange rate issues, etc have led to massive price disparities in prices of essential food items in various cities of the country.

According to data released by the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS), the rate of 20kg flour bag in Karachi has reached a record Rs2,800-3,000 as compared to Rs1,295 in Islamabad, Lahore and Gujranwala, while the same bag is being sold for Rs1,300-2,880 in Larkana, Sukkur and Hyderabad.

In Quetta and Peshawar, these flour bags sell for Rs1,295-2,700.

The port city of Karachi does not cultivate wheat and it depends on the arrival of grain, mainly from producing areas in interior Sindh.

In Khuzdar, a live broiler chicken is available at Rs460 per kg as compared to Rs410-450 in Quetta, while in Karachi it is sold at Rs390-420.

The bird costs Rs375 in Peshawar and Rs390-400 in Islamabad.

The highest egg rates of Rs275-300 per dozen prevail in Karachi, Islamabad, Faisalabad and Quetta, while the lowest egg rates of Rs250-270 are in Multan, Bahawalpur and Sukkur.

Faisalabad has the highest price of Rs295 per kg for masoor as compared to Rs250-280 in Karachi and Rs235-240 in Peshawar.

In Quetta, Moong rate hovers between Rs300-310 as compared to Rs210-280 in other cities.

The price of gram pulse holds the peak of Rs280-290 per kg in Quetta as compared to Rs220-260 per kg in Karachi and Rs200-250 in other cities.

Potatoes from the new crop are selling at Rs35-50 per kg in Karachi and some cities of Punjab, consumers of Islamabad are paying Rs60-90 per kg followed by Rs50-70 per kg in Peshawar and Rs60-70 in Quetta.

In Islamabad, onion carries a price of Rs240-280 per kg as against Rs180-220 in other parts of the country.

Floods in August devastated Sindh crops and only a few quantities are arriving from some producing areas at higher prices. Even the import of onions from various countries had failed to bring down prices.

In Islamabad, tomato rates are Rs80-120 per kg as against Rs40-60 in Karachi and Rs70-80 in Peshawar.

Karachi is getting huge supplies from Sindh-producing areas from the leftover crop after flood devastation and new harvesting by the growers.

Retailers in Karachi are pocketing Rs170-200 per kg for Basmati broken rice (average quality) as against Rs130-140 in Peshawar and Rs140-170 in Islamabad.

The average price of beef with bones in Karachi, Islamabad and Larkana is tagged at Rs750-850 per kg...

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