Food Prices in Pakistan Are World's Second Lowest Despite Inflation

The cost of living in Pakistan is the world's lowest despite recent inflationary trends, according to the Cost of Living Index for mid-2021 as published by Numbeo.  Numbeo Grocery Index reports that the food prices in Pakistan are the second cheapest in the world. In terms of local purchasing power, Pakistan ranks 101 among 139 nations. 

Cost of Living Map. Source: Numbeo

For overall cost of living as measured by Numbeo, Pakistan ranks 139 among 139 countries of the world. It is cheaper to live in Pakistan than to live in any of its neighboring countries in South Asia or West Asia. India ranks 138, Afghanistan 136, Bangladesh 115 and Iran 87. 

Local Purchasing Power (LPP) is a measure of relative purchasing power in buying goods and services in a given city for the average net salary in that city. If domestic purchasing power is 40, this means that the inhabitants of that city with an average salary can afford to buy on an average 60% fewer goods and services than New York City residents with an average salary.  Pakistan (LPP of 24.56) ranks 101 among 139 countries for Local Purchasing Power. India (42.16) ranks 52, Bangladesh (21.76) 111, Afghanistan (20.53) 112 and Iran (16.82) 124. Switzerland (102.77), the United States (94.32) and Australia (91.07) top the list in terms of local purchasing power. 

Cost of Living Rankings. Source: Numbeo

For food prices, Pakistan ranks 138 among 139 countries ranked. Only Afghanistan ranks below Pakistan at 139 on Numbeo Groceries Index. India ranks 129 and Bangladesh 112. 

Monthly Cost of Food Per Person in Pakistan. Source: Numbeo

Using a basket of Asian food types, the cost of feeding one person in Pakistan with a healthy, balanced diet of 2400 daily calories works out to Rs. 10,364.55 for a month, much lower than Rs. 13,635.77 (INR 6201.40) in India. It consists of bread, rice, meat, eggs, fruits and vegetables.  The most expensive components of the food baskets are chicken and beef. Reducing the amount of meat can help bring the cost of the meal further down.  At Rs. 15,248.41 per month, the cost of western food basket is about 50% higher but still significantly lower than Rs. 19,233.35 (INR 8747.13) in India.   

Pakistan is among world's top 10 food producing countries. After a wheat and sugarcane shortfall last year, there are reports of record production of wheat and corn in Pakistan this year. Higher domestic production will hopefully help contain food price inflation in coming months. 

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Views: 138

Comment by Riaz Haq on October 6, 2021 at 11:50am

Other than the #OPEC nations, #Pakistan’s fuel prices (petrol Rs. 127 ($0.75) per liter) are among the lowest in the world! #gasoline #petrol
https://twitter.com/haqsmusings/status/1445613011037609993?s=20

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/9/30/infographic-how-the-price-...

High fuel prices are part of a global energy crunch that has led to big disruptions across China, the United States, the United Kingdom and Europe. Petrol and diesel prices have also spiked in several countries including India and South Africa.

As of September 2021, Hong Kong has the most expensive petrol in the world at $2.56 per litre ($11.63 per gallon) followed by the Netherlands – $2.18 ($9.91 per gallon) and the Central African Republic – $2.14 ($9.72 per gallon). High taxes largely contribute to the high cost at the pump.

The countries with the cheapest petrol include mostly oil-rich countries including Venezuela at $0.02 ($0.09 per gallon), Iran – $0.06 ($0.27 per gallon) and Syria – $0.23 ($1.04 per gallon) according to globalpetrolprices.com.

Comment by Riaz Haq on October 18, 2021 at 4:54pm

Just two sub-categories of food, cereals and vegetables, account for 40% of the CPI food-basket. These two items also account for almost half of India’s agricultural production. Recent inflationary trends display an unprecedented trend of disinflation in cereal prices, which has been happening every month since February. To be sure, disinflation in vegetable prices has been underway since December 2020, but vegetable prices have fallen even earlier. Inflation in edible oil category continues to be very high. If one were to exclude cereal and vegetable prices from the food category, India is at a unique phase as far as the current CPI series is concerned, as prices of other food items have remained sticky at high levels.

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Excluding the big items of #cereals & #vegetables, the food inflation in #India is about 10%.https://www.hindustantimes.com/business/a-closer-examination-of-ind...

https://twitter.com/haqsmusings/status/1450247533486231553?s=20

Comment by Riaz Haq on October 19, 2021 at 9:47am

#Food Security Index: #India at 71st spot out of 113 nations. #Pakistan (with 52.6 points) scored better than India (50.2 points) in the category of food affordability. #FoodSecurity #SouthAsia https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/nation/food-security-index-india-...

New Delhi, October 19

India is ranked at 71st position in the Global Food Security (GFS) Index 2021 of 113 countries, but the country lags behind its neighbours Pakistan and Sri Lanka in terms food affordability, according to a report.

Pakistan (with 52.6 points) scored better than India (50.2 points) in the category of food affordability. Sri Lanka was even better with 62.9 points in this category on the GFS Index 2021, a global report released by Economist Impact and Corteva Agriscience on Tuesday said.

Ireland, Australia, the UK, Finland, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Canada, Japan, France and the US shared the top rank with the overall GFS score in the range of 77.8 and 80 points on the index.

The GFS Index was designed and constructed by London-based Economist Impact and is sponsored by Corteva Agriscience.

The GFS Index measures the underlying drivers of food security in 113 countries, based on the factors of affordability, availability, quality and safety, and natural resources and resilience. It considers 58 unique food security indicators including income and economic inequality – calling attention to systemic gaps and actions needed to accelerate progress toward United Nations Sustainable Development Goal of Zero Hunger by 2030.

According to the report, India held 71st position with an overall score of 57.2 points on the GFS Index 2021 of 113 countries, fared better than Pakistan (75th position), Sri Lanka (77th Position), Nepal (79th position) and Bangladesh (84th position). But the country was way behind China (34th position).

In the food affordability category, Pakistan (with 52.6 points) scored better than India (50.2 points). Sri Lanka was also better at 62.9 points on the GFS Index 2021.

https://impact.economist.com/sustainability/project/food-security-i...

Comment by Riaz Haq on November 4, 2021 at 7:27am

Pakistan PM unveils country’s ‘biggest ever’ welfare programme
Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan unveiled $709m package of subsidies for low-income households struggling with food price inflation.

https://www.aljazeera.com/economy/2021/11/4/pakistan-pm-unveils-cou...

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan unveiled a $709m package of food subsidies to ease the financial burden on low-income households as the prices of essentials continue to soar in the South Asian country.

Addressing the nation on Wednesday evening, Khan described the benefits package as “Pakistan’s biggest ever welfare programme”.

“This package is of Rs 120 billion ($709.2m), which the federal and provincial governments are giving jointly,” he said. “In this, we are [targeting] the three most important food items, ghee, flour and pulses.”

Under the plan, some 20 million qualifying low-income households will be entitled to a 30 percent discount on the purchase of the three items. The federal and provincial governments will make up the difference to retailers in the form of subsidy payments.


The subsidies will last for six months, Khan said, and are aimed at the poorest households, as classified by the government-run Ehsaas welfare programme.

Pakistani households have been dealing with spiralling consumer price inflation (CPI) in recent months, with October’s CPI clocking in at 9.2 percent compared with a year earlier.

Food inflation for core commodities has been particularly high, with the price of ghee increasing by 43 percent, flour by 12.97 percent and certain pulses by 17.62 percent over the last year, according to data from the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics.

The coronavirus pandemic hit the country’s economy hard, with economic growth slowing to 0.53 percent in 2020, according to the World Bank.

Prices for food, energy and other essential goods have skyrocketed around the world this year as countries cast off COVID-19 restrictions, triggering supply shortages and bottlenecks.

World food prices rose for a third straight month in October, the UN Food and Agricultural Organization said on Thursday, hitting a new 10 year high. Last month’s increase was driven by vegetable oils and cereals.

Khan blamed Pakistan’s inflation on international commodity prices, including petrol, claiming that his government had done a better job than others to absorb global price increases.

“What can we do about this? The inflation that is coming from outside. Let Allah make it so that we have all these things in our country, then we can reduce prices, but [not for things being imported],” he said.

Pakistan, which relies heavily on imports of essentials as well as other goods, has also been hit hard by a devaluation of its currency this year.

The Pakistani rupee has lost 13.1 percent of its value against the US dollar since May.

Khan’s government has expanded welfare spending during the pandemic to address unemployment and poverty, disbursing 179 billion rupees ($1.06bn) in grants to low-income families this year, according to government data.

Consumer Price Inflation, however, appears set to continue to increase, with Khan warning in his speech on Wednesday that the government would likely have to raise petroleum and diesel prices, in response to global oil price increases.

Comment by Riaz Haq on December 18, 2021 at 10:26am

Pak-China Bio-health Agriculture park inaugurated: Prof Zhang Lixian

https://www.app.com.pk/global/pak-china-bio-health-agriculture-park...

In the universities of Lahore, Faisalabad, and Bahauddin Zakariya, demonstration sites have been established. An assortment of food, such as maize, wheat, chili, carrot, and spinach are under research. Nano and earthworm fertilizers have been introduced.

For example, new wheat varieties that combine Chinese and Pakistani germplasms and have the potential to increase the yield by 2.7% per annum have accounted for 3% of the total in Punjab.


For now, three Pakistani students are committed to their construction. “In the near future, more Chinese and Pakistani students will be involved”, said Prof Zhang. “The flourishing of the bio-health agriculture also requires the participation of more enterprises”.


Looking ahead, Naheeda recommends more workshops to be organized in different regions of Pakistan to raise the awareness of farmers and landowners. “Also, the modern techniques in China like compound planting, smart agriculture gain, greenhouse and good varieties should be applied in Pakistan.”

Comment by Riaz Haq on May 21, 2022 at 8:59pm

Research article
Open Access
Published: 29 May 2020
A comparison of the Indian diet with the EAT-Lancet reference diet
Manika Sharma, Avinash Kishore, Devesh Roy & Kuhu Joshi

https://bmcpublichealth.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12889-0...

The average calorie intake/person/day in both rural (2214 kcal) and urban (2169 kcal) India is less than the reference diet (Table 1). In both rural and urban areas, people in rich households (top deciles of monthly per capita consumption expenditure (MPCE)) consume more than 3000 kcal/day i.e. 20% more than the reference diet. Their calorie intake/person/day is almost twice as high as their poorest counterparts (households in the bottom MPCE deciles) who consume only 1645 kcals/person/day (Table 1).



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The average daily calorie consumption in India is below the recommended 2503 kcal/capita/day across all groups compared, except for the richest 5% of the population. Calorie share of whole grains is significantly higher than the EAT-Lancet recommendations while those of fruits, vegetables, legumes, meat, fish and eggs are significantly lower. The share of calories from protein sources is only 6–8% in India compared to 29% in the reference diet. The imbalance is highest for the households in the lowest decile of consumption expenditure, but even the richest households in India do not consume adequate amounts of fruits, vegetables and non-cereal proteins in their diets. An average Indian household consumes more calories from processed foods than fruits.

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The EAT-Lancet reference diet is made up of 8 food groups - whole grains, tubers and starchy vegetables, fruits, other vegetables, dairy foods, protein sources, added fats, and added sugars. Caloric intake (kcal/day) limits for each food group are given and add up to a 2500 kcal daily diet [7]. We compare the proportional calorie (daily per capita) shares of the food groups in the reference diet with similar food groups in Indian Diets.

Comment by Riaz Haq on May 21, 2022 at 9:00pm

Our total consumption of wheat and atta is about 125kg per capita per year. Our per person per day calorie intake has risen from about 2,078 in 1949-50 to 2,400 in 2001-02 and 2,580 in 2020-21

By Riaz Riazuddin former deputy governor of the State Bank of Pakistan.


https://www.dawn.com/news/1659441/consumption-habits-inflation

As households move to upper-income brackets, the share of spending on food consumption falls. This is known as Engel’s law. Empirical proof of this relationship is visible in the falling share of food from about 48pc in 2001-02 for the average household. This is an obvious indication that the real incomes of households have risen steadily since then, and inflation has not eaten up the entire rise in nominal incomes. Inflation seldom outpaces the rise in nominal incomes.

Coming back to eating habits, our main food spending is on milk. Of the total spending on food, about 25pc was spent on milk (fresh, packed and dry) in 2018-19, up from nearly 17pc in 2001-01. This is a good sign as milk is the most nourishing of all food items. This behaviour (largest spending on milk) holds worldwide. The direct consumption of milk by our households was about seven kilograms per month, or 84kg per year. Total milk consumption per capita is much higher because we also eat ice cream, halwa, jalebi, gulab jamun and whatnot bought from the market. The milk used in them is consumed indirectly. Our total per person per year consumption of milk was 168kg in 2018-19. This has risen from about 150kg in 2000-01. It was 107kg in 1949-50 showing considerable improvement since then.

Since milk is the single largest contributor in expenditure, its contribution to inflation should be very high. Thanks to milk price behaviour, it is seldom in the news as opposed to sugar and wheat, whose price trend, besides hurting the poor is also exploited for gaining political mileage. According to PBS, milk prices have risen from Rs82.50 per litre in October 2018 to Rs104.32 in October 2021. This is a three-year rise of 26.4pc, or per annum rise of 8.1pc. Another blessing related to milk is that the year-to-year variation in its prices is much lower than that of other food items. The three-year rise in CPI is about 30pc, or an average of 9.7pc per year till last month. Clearly, milk prices have contributed to containing inflation to a single digit during this period.

Next to milk is wheat and atta which constitute about 11.2pc of the monthly food expenditure — less than half of milk. Wheat and atta are our staple food and their direct consumption by the average household is 7kg per capita (84kg per capita per year). As we also eat naan from the tandoors, bread from bakeries etc, our indirect consumption of wheat and atta is 41kg per capita. Our total consumption of wheat and atta is about 125kg per capita per year. Our per person per day calorie intake has risen from about 2,078 in 1949-50 to 2,400 in 2001-02 and 2,580 in 2020-21. The per capita per day protein intake in grams increased from 63 to 67 to about 75 during these years. Does this indicate better health? To answer this, let us look at how we devour ghee and sugar. Also remember that each person requires a minimum of 2,100 calories and 60g of protein per day.

Undoubtedly, ghee, cooking oil and sugar have a special place in our culture. We are familiar with Urdu idioms mentioning ghee and shakkar. Two relate to our eating habits. We greet good news by saying ‘Aap kay munh may ghee shakkar’, which literally means that may your mouth be filled with ghee and sugar. We envy the fortune of others by saying ‘Panchon oonglian ghee mei’ (all five fingers immersed in ghee, or having the best of both worlds). These sayings reflect not only our eating trends, but also the inflation burden of the rising prices of these three items — ghee, cooking oil and sugar. Recall any wedding dinner. Ghee is floating in our plates.

Comment by Riaz Haq on May 24, 2022 at 7:14pm

‘Diet of Average Indian Lacks Protein, Fruit, Vegetables’
On average, the Indian total calorie intake is approximately 2,200 kcals per person per day, 12 per cent lower than the EAT-Lancet reference diet's recommended level.

https://www.india.com/lifestyle/diet-of-average-indian-lacks-protei...

Compared to an influential diet for promoting human and planetary health, the diets of average Indians are considered unhealthy comprising excess consumption of cereals, but not enough consumption of proteins, fruits and vegetables, said a new study.Also Read - Autistic Pride Day 2020: Diet Rules For Kids With Autism

The findings by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and CGIAR research program on Agriculture for Nutrition and Health (A4NH) broadly apply across all states and income levels, underlining the challenges many Indians face in obtaining healthy diets. Also Read - Vitamin K Rich Food: Include These Items in Your Daily Diet to Avoid Uncontrolled Bleeding

“The EAT-Lancet diet is not a silver bullet for the myriad nutrition and environmental challenges food systems currently present, but it does provide a useful guide for evaluating how healthy and sustainable Indian diets are,” said the lead author of the research article, A4NH Program Manager Manika Sharma. Also Read - Experiencing Hair Fall? Include These Super-foods in Your Daily Diet ASAP

“At least on the nutrition front we find Indian diets to be well below optimal.”

The EAT-Lancet reference diet, published by the EAT-Lancet Commission on Food, Planet, and Health, implies that transforming eating habits, improving food production and reducing food wastage is critical to feed a future population of 10 billion a healthy diet within planetary boundaries.

While the EAT-Lancet reference diet recommends eating large shares of plant-based foods and little to no processed meat and starchy vegetables, the research demonstrates that incomes and preferences in India are driving drastically different patterns of consumption.

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