Says we need to produce more and improve storage
Pakistan Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin said that the food prices have gone up because Pakistan has become a net food importer as opposed to a food exporter in the past.
“We have become net food importers,” said Tarin while revealing details of the Economic Survey 2020-21. “We used to be exporters but now we are importing sugar, wheat, palm etc.”
Tarin said that when food prices go up in the international market it reflects in Pakistan too. “It is because we import food items.”
But he said that the prices of food and other commodities went up by a higher rate in the international market as compared to Pakistan.
Tarin said that sugar prices went up by 58% in the international market last year. Sugar prices in Pakistan increased by 19% for the same period.
He added that crude oil prices went up by 119% in the international market and increased by 32% in Pakistan.
However, he said that the wheat price saw a hike of 29% in the international market and Pakistan alike.
He said that the high prices of commodities or inflation were affecting people. “What we can do is increase production,” he said.
He added that commodity warehouses and cold storages need to be built and strategic reserves need to be built by the government for major commodities such as wheat and sugar to reduce the role of middlemen, who artificially increase prices through hoarding and artificial shortage to earn abnormal profits.
“When the prices of commodities go up, the government can flood the market to stabilize the prices,” Tarin said.