ICCI concerned at skyrocketing food price

  • March 14, 2011
Food inflation has emerged as a major source of concern for government in Pakistan and food security has significantly worsened as result of the recent food price hikes.

Soaring food inflation is making the lives of millions of working class, poor and people even more miserable and poverty-stricken, this was stated by Mahfooz Elahi, President, Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry while commenting on phenomenal rise in prices of different commodities in Pakistan.

He said that for the common man in the society it has become nearly impossible to respectfully support a family. He added that it has become extremely hard to fulfill the needs of children including their food, health and education.

He urged the government to adopt appropriate food security policies and provide relief to million of poor inhabitants of Pakistan from severe food inflation. He cited the example of Sri Lanka, as the Department of Agrarian Services directly intervened into the market to bring prices of essential food items at affordable level because prices of many essential food items had increased by three fold when they reach the retail market due to unfair profit gained methods of the middlemen.

ICCI President attributed that the prices of 50 essential items have increased during 2010, in some cases prices rose by 128%, the prices of different pulses increased on average 44%, the price of average quality wheat also rose by 22% and the price of basmati rice also rose by more than 30%. He further said that poor people and lower income working class people are enraged with this situation in which the rate of essential commodities was increasing by the hour.

Elahi urged the government to respond by stepping up food security mechanism, imposing or tightening price controls and cutting food import duties. He asked the Government to undertake immediate inclusive policy and trade related measures to keep food prices from further escalating and to provide essential food items at affordable prices.

During the discussion, ICCI Vice President, Adil Anees was of the view that the high food prices reverse all gains in poverty reduction achieved earlier, as food expenditures comprise a large share of the poor’s total expenditures and food price hikes have severely eroded their purchasing power.