Despite flour prices start to ease, pulses becoming costlier in Pakistan
Despite flour prices start to ease, pulses becoming costlier in Pakistan
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KARACHI: Just as wheat flour prices were about to decrease as a result of a relentless increasing trend over the previous few months, another essential kitchen item began to increase in price for a population that has been severely hurt by inflation.

Pulses are becoming more expensive as a result of the import consignments that cannot be cleared at the port because banks are taking their time approving the necessary documentation.

According to Rauf Ibrahim, the chairman of the Karachi Wholesalers Grocers Association (KWGA), the traders protested outside the State Bank's headquarters on Thursday in response to the refusal of over 6,000 containers of pulses at the port over the previous two months due to a lack of dollars and banks' reluctance to approve import documents.

Faisal Anis Majeed, a commodity importer and exporter, informed Dawn that the wholesale price of gramme pulse has increased from Rs180 on January 1, 2023, and Rs170 on December 1, 2022, to Rs205 per kg.

Masoor's price rose from Rs205 to Rs225 from a December low of Rs200. Mash and mung increased from Rs315 and Rs225 per kg to Rs335 and Rs260, respectively. Mash and mung were priced at Rs288 and Rs200 on December 1.

Masoor, mung, mash, and gramme pulse prices in retail marketplaces have increased from Rs210-240, Rs180-220, Rs260-300, and Rs160-200 per kg in January 2022 to Rs270-280, Rs250-300, Rs380-400, and Rs230-260, respectively. Due to the non-clearance of pulses cargoes from the port, the retail price can creep up even further.

Mr. Majeed expressed regret that, as of January 1, 2023, banks will no longer accept payments for currently arriving cargo, import paperwork, or other pertinent documentation.

About 1.5 million tonnes of imported pulses are consumed each year in Pakistan. He emphasised that stuck-up containers regularly incur significant demurrage and detention fees from shipping companies. The end users will undoubtedly bear this increased cost, he said.

He claimed that in order to meet the growing demand for pulses during Ramadan, especially gramme pulse, traders needed to ramp up imports. In the event that pulse imports were not simplified, he spoke of a massive imbalance between supply and demand and rising prices.

Arrival of pulses takes about 45-60 days. International suppliers are losing optimism and are cancelling contracts for future shipments as their current funds are stuck on Karachi Port, he said, urging the government to ensure availability of dollars for payment of pulses, waiver of demurrage and detention charges at the port.

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