Food security: Urea, DAP are missing after wheat sowing as vegetable prices remain untamed

Food security: Urea, DAP are missing after wheat sowing as vegetable prices remain untamed

Business

Sugar is available for Rs200 per kg in Quetta

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LAHORE/QUETTA (Dunya News/Web Desk) – With the wheat and potato crops already planted, farmers are yet again experiencing a seasonal challenge – the black marketing of fertilisers – as artificial shortage has skyrocketed the prices amid a complete government failure to check the practice repeated twice a year.

It is an open secret that hoarders and black marketers create this crisis soon after the summer and winter sowing seasons, increasing the input costs for farmers and thus the produce in a country which is already witnessing record-high food prices despite being an agriculture-based economy.

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Reports suggest that there is a severe shortage of urea and DAP in Okara, Vehari, Bahawalnagar, Bahawalpur, Pakpattan, Sahiwal, Rahim Yar Khan, Dera Ghazi Khan and other parts of Punjab.

It is feared that fertilizer shortage may affect the wheat and potato crops, resulting in less production and higher prices of the two essential food items.

The seriousness of the issue can be gauged by the fact that urea prices in Bahawalpur have jumped to Rs7,500 per bag.

It is the government’s inability to subsidise the inputs – from seeds to fertilisers and insecticides – that has been a main hurdle in increasing the per acre yields according to the world standards.

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Until and unless Pakistan is able to enhance the per acre yield, it can face a serious food insecurity issue amid the population bomb and water scarcity – a natural and most visible effect of climate change or global warming.

THE SCARCE SUGAR

Although the crushing has started in the country over a month ago, Quetta and other parts of Balochistan are experiencing rising sugar prices which has touched Rs200 per kilogramme.

This price hike by the retailers comes after the 50-kilogramme bag was provided to them for Rs9,000 with an Rs1,000 increase.

On the other hand, dealers are accusing the government for the crisis, saying the administration hasn’t been issuing the required permits.

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The sugar price hike means that all the products, of which the sweetener is a basic ingredient, also become expansive – a trend that can best be described as snowball effect.

So from the bakery items to the cup of tea you have at your home or roadside stall turn a luxury for an overwhelming majority who are already crushed by persistent inflation and shrinking purchasing power amid stagnant wages.

THE EXPANSIVE VEGETABLES

Vegetables like pulses should be an essential part of our daily diet but isn’t the case now as vegetable prices in Lahore are increasing at an alarming rate.

One has to remember that meat and eggs are already out of the reach for the majority given the high prices. It means Pakistan needs immediate steps to ensure food security for its 240-million strong population at a time when inflation has become unbearable and global warming is directly affecting the agriculture sector.

In Lahore, the onion price has reached Rs200 per kilogramme while ginger and garlic – two other main items to cook any food in our region – are available for Rs600.

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So it’s expansive whatever you decide to have in your menu.

The overall trend represents a vicious cycle as the price of one item is decreased with that of another jumping with no respite for consumers. 




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