Uncontrolled food prices pushing millions of Pakistanis into poverty: PEW

Economy watchdog says export of edibles should be banned to bring prices down

Published: 11:52 PM, 16 Feb, 2020
Uncontrolled food prices pushing millions of Pakistanis into poverty: PEW
Caption: People eat charity food by a roadside in Karachi. More than one year after the election, which brought Imran Khan to power in Pakistan, the cricket-hero-turned-prime-minister faces growing anger as he chases an elusive target: how to right the country’s teetering economy.–AFP file photo
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The Pakistan Economy Watch (PEW) on Sunday said uncontrolled food prices continue to push millions into abject poverty with no relief in sight.

A good portion of the population has become food insecure due to food mafia’s lust for profits and inaction on the part of authorities, it said.

Strict measures should be taken against profiteers while export of food items should be banned immediately to bring the prices down, said PEW President Dr Murtaza Mughal. He said that health and nutrition needs of the public are more important than the profit of some exporters. The nutrition value of different vegetables, fruits and staple is receding while seeds resistant to climate change and pests are also needed for which research and development should be improved.

Dr Murtaza Mughal said that increasing population, decreasing per acre yield and a free hand to profiteers have become a threat to the lives and health of people. He noted that cotton, wheat and some other crops faced substantial losses which increased prices but the real culprits are sugar and wheat mafia which benefitted from inaction and mismanagement of the authorities.

Control food mafia, not social media

He noted that the government should control food mafia before wasting energies in controlling social media. The plight of children getting underweight and mothers lacking nutrition must be noted as it has raised questions about the health of future generations, he added. He said that those who fell ill have to spend 16 percent more on medicines as compared to food and that if a strict action was not initiated against people behind sugar and wheat flour crisis, it will embolden the criminals to bleed the masses white, he warned.