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Chicken More Affordable Than Daal in Pakistan?

Pakistan's finance minister Ishaq Dar has suggested to his countrymen to eat chicken instead of daal (pulses or legumes). Does the minister sound like Queen Marie-Antoinette (wife of France's King Louis XVI) who reportedly said to hungry rioters during the French Revolution:  “Qu'ils mangent de la brioche”—“Let them eat cake”? Let's look into it.

It is indeed true that some varieties of daal are priced higher than chicken. For example, maash is selling at Rs. 260 per kilo, higher than chicken meat at Rs. 200 per kilo. But other daals such as mung, masur and chana are cheaper than chicken.

The reason for higher daal prices and relatively lower chicken prices can be found in the fact that Pakistan's livestock industry, particularly poultry farming, has seen significant growth that the nation's pulse crop harvests have not.

Poultry Farm in Pakistan

Pakistan's poultry industry achieved 127% growth in the total number of birds produced, 126% growth in the total meat production and 71%growth in terms of total eggs produced between 2000 and 2010, according to government data. As a result, the cheapest sources of animal protein in Pakistan are the eggs and meat from the poultry sector.  As of 2013, the per capita availability of poultry meat in Pakistan is 5 kg. In addition, Pakistanis consume 51 eggs per year per capita.

Major Pulse Producing Nations in 2011

Poultry share of meat consumption in Pakistan has steadily increased over the years.  In 1971, the market share of beef was 61%, mutton was 37%, and poultry meat a mere 2-2.5%. In 2010 the market share of poultry meat had increased to 25%, while beef and mutton declined to 55% and 20% respectively.  This increase in the overall size of the poultry sector has decreased the gap between the supply and demand of animal proteins and helped stabilize beef and mutton prices, making meat relatively more affordable to more people.

Production of daal, another important source of protein in Pakistan, has not kept pace with demand. Domestic production is not enough to provide 6-7 kilos of daal per person consumed in the country. Pakistan is forced to resort to imports to meet demand. Pakistan spent $139 million to import 628,000 tons of pulses in fiscal year 2010-2011. Pulse imports jumped to $224 million in July 2014 to January 2015 period, according to a report.

Overall, livestock contribution to agriculture in Pakistan has now risen to 58.55 percent, with the rest coming from crops, fisheries and forestry, according to Economic Survey of Pakistan 2015-16. The agriculture sector accounts for 19.82 percent of GDP and 42.3 percent of employment with strong backward and forward linkages. Dairy farming has grown in Pakistan by leaps and bounds, making the country the third largest milk producer in the world.

Services sector now accounts for 59.16% of Pakistan's GDP,  the largest sector of the economy, followed by industrial sector that contributes 21.02%. Manufacturing is the most important sub-sector of the industrial sector containing 64.71 percent share in the overall industrial sector.

There has been significant progress in increasing animal protein supply via growth in Pakistan's livestock sector over the last few decades. Nations' policymakers now need to focus on increasing plant protein sources to close the gap between protein supply and demand in an affordable manner.

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Comment by Riaz Haq on June 20, 2016 at 11:07pm

From Pakistan Poultry Association:

  • In our country per capita consumption of (poultry) meat is only 7 kilo grams and 65-70 eggs annually. Whereas developed world is consuming about 40 kilo grams meat and over 300 eggs per capita per year.

Comment by Riaz Haq on June 25, 2016 at 9:44pm

35% of what #Indians eat today is of `foreign' origin. #India #food via @timesofindia

Most of us know exotic new veggies and grains like kale and quinoa are "imported" but even ordinary staples like potato, onion, tomato and chilli came from elsewhere, reports Subodh Varma.
A study of 177 countries by scientists from the International Center of Tropical Agriculture has found that in India, more than a third of all food items derived from plants -grains, vegetables, fruits, spices, oils, sugar etc. -originated and developed elsewhere, and came to this subcontinent by trade or migration over centuries.

In terms of calorific value, such `foreign' origin foods make up 45 per cent of the national food production. It's not just India. At the global level, 66 per cent of calories consumed are derived from foreign origin foods on an average as was 71 per cent of production.
Onions and wheat have their origins in West Asia, potatoes and tomatoes came from South America, while mustard seeds came from the Mediterranean. Likewise, chillies came to India from Central America, while garlic and apples found their way from Central Asia.
Stay updated on the go with Times of India News App. Click here to download it for your device.

Comment by Riaz Haq on June 29, 2016 at 6:15pm

#India tomato shortage causes #curry crisis with food #inflation rising under #Modi #BJP

At Pimpalgaon Basant, a village in western India, there is not a single cloud in the sky. The last time it rained was days ago, and that was only for an hour. Without rain, the Pimpalgaon tomato market, said to be the biggest in Asia, is almost empty.

“We have around 75% fewer tomatoes than normal,” says Sheik Tanveer, who works at the market. “Normally, you can buy tomatoes wholesale for 10 rupees [10p] a kilo here – now you’ll get about 150g for that.”

Tomato prices across India have, on average, doubled since April, causing consternation across the country. A long drought, followed by an early monsoon has disturbed the harvest cycle, and scarcity has pushed up prices. Other vegetables and lentils are also more expensive this year.

Tomatoes are a staple in Indian cuisine, used as a base for cooking vegetables, curries and dal. The rising cost makes a huge difference to family budgets and to the farmers who rely on steady sales for their income.

Many restaurants have dropped tomato-based dishes from their menus, while the sale of processed tomato sauces and ketchup has seen a 40% increase, according to Assocham, a national trade association.

Popat Khaire, a farmer from Pimpalgaon, says he’s never seen such a bad harvest. “It’s so hot. None of the farmers have any [tomatoes] to sell.”

Khaire usually gets good rates for his tomatoes, but he’s suffered huge losses this year. “The fields are ready, the saplings are ready, I am just waiting for the rain to come,” he says.

Santosh Zute, also a farmer, says: “The tomatoes that were planted have all come out small and black. You can’t eat them. So now we’re all sitting at home with our tomato seed. I’m losing around 5,000 rupees a day because of this.”

In India, the rise and fall of governments has been linked to the price of vegetables. High onion prices were thought to have been the deciding factor in the 1998 state elections in Delhi and Rajasthan.

This month, Arun Jaitley, the finance minister, chaired a meeting with cabinet ministers to find ways to reduce tomato prices. Mamata Banerjee, West Bengal’s chief minister, set up an emergency taskforce to address the tomato crisis.

While drought has slowed production in west India, heavy rains and floods have ruined the crop in the south. In Haveri, a region in the southern state of Karnataka, Shrenik Raj, a tomato farmer, says he has lost 600,000 rupees since the beginning of the year. “It was terribly hot, so the plants couldn’t grow. I’ve lost all my crop. I could sell tomatoes for a good price at the market now, but I don’t have any to sell,” he says.

At the beginning of the year, a bumper crop caused tomato prices in Haveri to fall dramatically, leading to huge protests from tomato farmers. “Wholesalers were offering us 50 paise [0.5p] or 1 rupee a kilo. The normal rate is 40 rupees. When the farmers heard about those prices, they just started dumping tomatoes in protest. Many didn’t bother to pick them; they just left them in the fields. Now, there is nothing to sell.”

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In India’s cities, tomato sellers are struggling to earn decent money. At Vegetable Alley in Mumbai, Sachin Bhad has to haggle with customers. “Tomatoes are selling for 50-60 rupees a kilo this week. Last week it had risen to 80 rupees – that’s the highest it has ever been,” he says. “This week, we’ve got tomatoes from Punjab, so the prices have come down a bit, but the stock we’re getting is not good and people aren’t buying.

“Two months ago, I used to earn 1,000 rupees a day – now I’m barely making 500. I spend all day explaining why tomato prices are so high.”

Smita Shah, one of Bhad’s customers, wants to buy half a kilo of tomatoes. “I used to buy a kilo two or three times a week. Now I buy 250g or 500g,” she says.

Comment by Riaz Haq on June 29, 2016 at 6:28pm

According to a spokesman of the market, the rates of vegetables at the Ramzan/Sasta Bazaars of Islamabad are as under:

Potato per kilogram is Rs 27, Potato Store Rs 23, Onion Rs 26, Tomato Rs 32, Ginger Rs 80, Garlic desi Rs 175, Garlic (China) Rs 175, Lemon desi Rs 98, Lady Finger Rs 50, Pumpkin Rs 46, Brinjal Rs 34, Peas Rs 118, Farsh Bean Rs 82, Tanda Walaiti Rs 55, Tanda desi Rs 64, Cucumber Rs 27, Capsicum Rs 45/32, Green Chilli Rs 38, Cauliflower Rs 68/38, Cabbage Rs 40, Bitter gourd Rs 37, Green Zucchini Rs 40, Spinach Rs 34, Turnip Rs 45, Maroo Rs 48, Yam Rs 55, Carrot Rs 55, Chicken Rs 139 per kg and Egg per dozen Rs 78.

Likewise, he said that rates of fruits per kilogram of high and medium quality in Sasta Bazaars are as follows: Apple Kala Kulo Rs 145/125, Apple White Rs 95/65, Apple Ambri Rs 82/56, Apple China Rs 200/180, Apple New Zealand Rs 256/232, Banana Pak Rs 130/85, Banana Ind Rs 165/135, Pear China Rs 165, Apricot Swat Rs 105/85, Apricot Kabli Rs 140/125, Melon desi Rs 30/22, White Melon Rs 28/20, Water Melon Rs 20/15, Peach Rs 95/65, Mango Sundhari Rs 110/85, Mango Maldeh Rs 62/45, Mango Almas Rs 47/35, Mango langra Rs 65/45, Mango Chaunsa White Rs 105/85, Mango Dosari Rs 76/50, Mango Desi Rs 55/35, Plum Rs 120/90, Garma Rs 58/35 and Mango Ratool Rs 138/95.

The spokesman has asked all the people to follow this list and inform authorities at 051-4867762 in case of any complaint against shopkeepers.

Comment by Riaz Haq on June 29, 2016 at 7:45pm

Survey: #India is the cheapest place to live in the world, cheaper than neighbors #Nepal and #Pakistan

"In India, if you want quality, you will be paying high prices. It very much depends on who you are. You have to settle for many compromises to take advantage of the cheap prices."

Meanwhile, many Indians outside cities have felt the purchasing power of the rupee depreciate as inflation has been ongoing. The Indian government is now trying to keep inflation low.

And the rural state of Bihar in the north-east of India is one of the poorest regions in the whole of south Asia, according to a study by Oxford University.

Comment by Riaz Haq on July 1, 2016 at 9:24am

India Gets Chana Dal Crisis Wrong - Subsidise People, Not Products

Indian agriculture is having one of those passing problems at present, the prices of certain foods are rising well outside usual ranges. India’s a country that has still great swathes of absolute poverty, such price rises cause real suffering. Thus something should be done. But it’s important that the right thing be done rather than the wrong. India’s welfare system in general is moving, slowly enough, to using the right methods. But what’s happening here over chana dal and other pulses is showing us the wrong way to do it. The correct answer is to be subsidising people, not specific products. This is different from but allied to Amartya Sen’s point that modern famines don’t happen because of a lack of food but because of a lack of purchasing power. In the face of these changing prices we want to boost the purchasing power of the poor, not produce subsidised portions of those now more expensive foods.

Firstly, we simply don’t want to be doing these things through something as cumbersome as a bureaucracy. Especially not something as cumbersome as the Indian bureaucracy. We would very much prefer whatever aid we provide to be available quickly. It’s very much easier to move money around than it is food so that’s what we should be doing. As when we deal with famine itself (please note, we are not talking about famine in India at present, not at all, just price rises). Send in money so that people can purchase the food which exists rather than sending in food itself. It’s really much, much, quicker.

The government decided to import 7,500 tonnes of chana and masoor dal in the coming days to boost domestic supply and curb prices. The pulses issue was discussed in detail in the meeting of Management Committee of Price Stabilisation Fund, chaired by Consumer Affairs Secretary Hem Pande here.

We also have another manner of managing these things. Those markets – if the domestic price of these pulses is rising above the world price then importers will import them. And again we come back to that Sen point – there must be effective demand at those higher prices. Which is why we just give money to poor people.

Drought has shrunk the total output of chana dal production by 40-45% this year, traders said. It has seen doubling of its wholesale rate this year over the same period in 2015 and this trend will have a telling effect on besan (made from chana dal) sweets this festive season.

Comment by Riaz Haq on July 1, 2016 at 3:51pm

Parched Land. Farmer #Suicides. Dead Animals. Forced Migration: #Drought Is Crippling Rural #India … via @TheWorldPost

TIKAMGARH DISTRICT, India — For years, Lakshman Pal, 28, planted wheat and tended to his small field here. Each season, he hoped for rain. He looked up at the sky and waited for the showers that normally came. But for the past two years, they’ve hardly come at all. His crops eventually withered and died, crumbling to dust.

In early May, Pal returned from a spell of work in the distant state of Haryana, where he earned 250 rupees, or about $3.70, a day toiling long hours as a laborer. Fifteen other members of his family also migrated to various cities, searching for work and leaving behind women, children, the elderly and a handful of younger men to tend to the land. Pal borrowed money from the bank and a local moneylender to pay for medical treatment for his mother, who has cancer, and he was now deep in debt.

Back in Khakron, his village, Pal found himself not only in debt, but also with no water for his fields, no crops to harvest, no food for his family, no money for his mother’s treatment. He awoke one morning in mid-May, before dawn, and killed himself in his field.

Life is precarious in Bundelkhand, a vast rural landscape in north-central India that I drove through on a weeklong trip for The WorldPost in late May. The region, which consists of over 27,000 square miles across the states Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh, is one of India’s poorest areas, populated mostly by poverty-stricken farmers living in rudimentary villages. And now, it’s suffocating under an intense drought that’s affected a staggering 330 million people nationwide. 

As the crisis deepens, the country that celebrated the 1960s agricultural revolution and a resulting boom in production of food grains is now seeing its farmers dying in debt and despair. In many cases, farmers accrue debt from loans for seeds, fertilizers and equipment. And the debt can carry down to their children and grandchildren. 

Stories like Pal’s are repeated with frightening regularity all over the country. More than 2,200 farmers reportedly died by suicide in just one state — Madhya Pradesh — between April and October of last year, and more than 12,000 reportedly killed themselves across the country in 2014.

Severe dry spells have become much more common in Bundelkhand in recent years, a consequence of both climate change and the lack of a robust irrigation system, turning this historically dry area into a parched and barren land. Groundwater reservoirs have been dangerously depleted, and agriculture has stagnated. Temperatures are consistently over 100 degrees Fahrenheit and sometimes top 115. Since the early 2000s, droughts have become worse and the annual monsoon, which is critical for agriculture, has become erratic. The drought was especially bad from 2003 to 2010. In 2011, the region experienced much higher rainfall — in some districts, more than 500 percent above normal — and flooding was widespread. Disappointing monsoons in 2012 and 2013 gave way to drought again in 2014. It hasn’t abated, and the network of lakes, rivers and wells, which had always supported the people, have gone almost completely dry.

Comment by Riaz Haq on July 1, 2016 at 4:53pm

How food inflation has removed #dal, #potato & #tomato from the plate of aam aadmi in #Modi's #India via @indiacom

Last year it was onion that made the middle-class cry. This year soaring price of tomatoes, potatoes and pulses have made the life of aam aadmi difficult.

Last year it was onion that made the middle-class cry. This year soaring price of tomatoes, potatoes and pulses have made the life of aam aadmi difficult. Despite government’s efforts to control the prices of essential commodities, a huge increase in the cost of tomatoes, potatoes, arhar dal and urad dal has largely hit the common man of the country.
According to the Wholesale Price Index or WPI data released on Tuesday, vegetable inflation rose sharply from 2.21 per cent in April to 12.94 per cent the next month. The inflation level at highest in 19 months. Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley held a high level meeting to fix the strategy to keep prices in check which was attended by Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari, Food Minister Ram Vilas Paswan, Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh and Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Chief Economic Advisor Arvind Subramanian. (ALSO READ: Pulses costlier due to poor rainfall, reduced imports: Ram Vilas Paswan)

Rising Inflation: The rising prices of vegetables are major concern. Due to crop damage, Tomato prices have doubled to an average Rs. 80 a kilogram across the country. In Hyderabad, tomatoes are being sold at Rs 100 per kilogram. Potato prices are up to almost Rs 20 per kilogram. Drought situation is several parts of the India, production of pulses were badly hit last year. Country’s pulses production is estimated to be 17.06 million tonnes in 2015-16 crop year, while the demand of pulses in India is pegged at 23.5 tonnes.

According to data published by the department of consumer affairs and the National Horticulture Board, prices of tomatoes have increased by 100-200 per cent in most cities between April and June this year. Crop damage in West Bengal and a dip in production have risen the prices of potatoes in the country.

Price rise of pulses: Pulses inflation has remained in double digits since January 2015. Arhar dal is currently costing as much as Rs 170 per kilogram. Urad dal is selling for as high as Rs 196 per kilogram. “In the last two years, arhar dal prices have doubled and the cost of urad has increased by around 120 per cent. Even the price of chana dal, which is produced in large quantities and is usually unaffected by inflation, has risen 85% in this period, in Delhi,” a Times of India report said.
Following are today’s pulses rates (in Rs per quintal): Urad Rs 10,800-12,300, Urad Chilka (local) Rs 11,100-11,200, Urad best Rs 11,200-11,700, Dhoya Rs 11,600-11,900, Moong Rs 6,200-6,800, Dal Moong Chilka local Rs 6,750-7,150, Moong Dhoya local Rs 7,150-7,650 and best quality Rs 7,650-7,850. Masoor small Rs 6,050-6,350, bold Rs 6,100-6,400, Dal Masoor local Rs 6,600-7,100, best quality Rs 6,700-7,200, Malka local Rs 7,000-7,300, best Rs 7,100-7,400, Moth Rs 5,500-5,900, Arhar Rs 9,200, Dal Arhar Dara Rs 12,100-13,800.
Gram Rs 7,000-7,500, Gram dal (local) Rs 7,150-7,450, best quality Rs 7,600-7,700, Besan (35 kg), Shakti Bhog Rs 3,100,Rajdhani Rs 3,100, Rajma Chitra Rs 5,600-6,950, Kabuli Gram small Rs 8,000-9,500, Dabra Rs 2,700-2,800, Imported Rs 4,700-5,100, Lobia Rs 5,400-5,600, Peas white Rs 3,400-3,425 and green Rs 3,600-3,700.

Comment by Riaz Haq on July 2, 2016 at 10:47am

#Pakistan Inflation hit 13-year low in FY16 but price rises affect tomatoes (up 61%) potatoes (up 45.5%) in #Ramadan

Pakistan’s average inflation came in at 2.86 per cent in the just-ended fiscal year, its lowest level in over 13 years, the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics said on Friday.

Falling oil and commodity prices, a stable rupee and monitoring of prices at both federal and provincial levels were major reasons behind low inflation.

Average inflation stood at 4.53pc in 2014-15, 8.62pc in 2013-14 and 7.36pc in 2012-13.

Inflation measured through the consumer price index (CPI) — the indicator that tracks prices of 481 commodities every month in the country’s urban centres — inched up to 3.19pc in June from 3.17pc in May.

A finance ministry report said prudent fiscal and monetary policies and a few other factors helped in moderating the headline inflation and other inflationary indicators, ie core inflation, food inflation, sensitive price indicator (SPI) and wholesale price index (WPI).

It said the government had also passed on the benefits of lower oil prices to domestic consumers, which helped stabilise prices of commodities included in the CPI basket.

Food inflation, which has 37pc weight in CPI basket, was 2.3pc in June as compared to 3.2pc in the same month of the last year.

This decline in food inflation was the outcome of a 1.82pc fall in prices of perishable food items.

On a month-on-month basis, food inflation rose 1.4pc in June, mainly because of a 7.87pc increase in prices of perishable products and 0.19pc in non-perishable products.

The food items whose prices increased included tomatoes (61pc), potatoes (45.5pc), eggs (8.5pc), fresh vegetables (5.9pc), gram whole (5.7pc), fresh fruits (2.5pc), besan (2.4pc), pulse gram (2.2pc), and rice (1.4pc).

Core inflation, measured by excluding volatile food and energy prices, was recorded at 4.6pc in June 2016, slightly up 0.1pc from the previous month. Falling inflation has also encouraged the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) to lower its key interest rate at a 42-year low of 5.75pc.

Core inflation has remained subdued since November last year because of a tighter monetary policy and reduction in food and fuel prices.

The finance ministry report said a 6.26pc decline in government sector borrowing during July-March 2015-16 has resulted in low core inflation. The retirement of Rs534.6 billion by the government to the SBP during the period under review also helped in lowering core inflation.

The non-food inflation was 3.8pc during the period under review as compared to 3.9pc in the previous month.

Among the non-food group, education index increased by 0.18pc and health by 0.13pc in June as compared to the previous month. The highest increase of 4.24pc was witnessed in the index of alcoholic beverages and tobacco.

Average inflation measured through the SPI rose 1.31pc in July-June 2015-16, while WPI was negative 1.05pc.

Lower WPI reflects less demand for domestic commodities, mainly because of low purchasing power. The entrance of the manufacturing sector into a negative growth indicates deflation in the economy.

Comment by Riaz Haq on November 17, 2016 at 9:49pm

Excerpts of World Bank Report "Making Growth Matter" released November, 2016:

The government recently set a new national poverty line that identifies 29.5 percent
of Pakistanis as poor (using the latest available data from FY14). By back casting
this line, the poverty rate in FY02 would have been about 64.3 percent. This means
that poverty has more than halved between FY02 and FY14, even according to this
new and higher metric. The new poverty line was introduced in April 2016 precisely
because of Pakistan's success in reducing poverty over the last decade and a half.
Using the old national poverty line, set in 2001, the percentage of people living in
poverty fell from 34.7 percent in FY02 to 9.3 percent in FY14—a fall of more than
75 percent. Other sources of data corroborate this decline—ownership of assets and
dietary diversity also increased over this period. For example, in the bottom income
quintile, motorcycle ownership increased from 2 to 18 percent between FY02 and
FY14. See Section C1.

When poverty declines, it usually coincides with other gains in household welfare.
Throughout the period under review, Pakistan saw substantial gains in welfare,
including the ownership of assets, the quality of housing and an increase in school
enrollment, particularly for girls. First, the ownership of relatively more expensive
assets increased even among the poorest. In the bottom quintile, the ownership of
motorcycles increased from 2 to 18 percent, televisions from 20 to 36 percent and
refrigerators from 5 to 14 percent (see Figure 29). In contrast, there was a decline
in the ownership of cheaper assets like bicycles and radios. Housing quality in the
bottom quintile also showed an improvement. The number of homes constructed
with bricks or blocks increased while mud (katcha) homes decreased. Homes with a
flushing toilet almost doubled in the bottom quintile, from about 24 percent in
FY02 to 49 percent in FY14 (see Figure 30).

Changes in consumption patterns over time were also consistent with the poverty
decline. It is well-known that increases in income are strongly associated with
households spending less of their budget on food, and more on non-food items
(Engel’s law). In Pakistan, the 25 percentage point decline in poverty between FY02
and FY14 was associated with a 10 percentage point reduction in the share of
expenditure devoted to food (see Figure 31).

In Pakistan, the reduction in poverty led to an increase in dietary diversity for all
income groups. For the poorest, the share of expenditure devoted to milk and milk
products, chicken, eggs and fish rose, as did the share devoted to vegetables and
fruits. In contrast, the share of cereals and pulses, which provide the cheapest 

calories, declined steadily between FY02 and FY14. Because foods like chicken,
eggs, vegetables, fruits, and milk and milk products are more expensive than cereals
and pulses, and have lower caloric content, this shift in consumption also increased
the amount that people spent per calorie over time (see Table 12). For the poorest
quintile, expenditure per calorie increased by over 18 percent between FY02 and

Overall, this analysis confirms that the decline in poverty exhibited by the 2001
poverty line is quite credible, and that Pakistan has done remarkably well overall in
reducing monetary poverty based on the metric it set some 15 years ago. 

... there is now a considerable body of
research suggesting that the link between food availability and nutritional status is
weak, and is mediated by the ambient disease environment and the quality of water
and sanitation.


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