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Poultry traders fleece buyers with phony rates

Munawar Hasan
Sunday, Apr 14, 2024

LAHORE: Wholesale poultry traders in the metropolis are selling chicken to retailers at exorbitant price while circulating fake official rate list.

Various poultry sellers have complained that they were forced to buy costly live chicken by wholesale traders. The traders kept selling at arbitrary prices with complete impunity.

On Saturday, when chicken supply resumed after end of Eid holidays, traders circulated fake rate list among retailers, forcing them to buy a live chicken at Rs 150 to Rs 200 costlier than the original price list issued by district administration.

A seller shared fake poultry list to The News, stating that against official price of Rs 459 per kg for live chicken, he was forced to purchase poultry at Rs 508 per kg. Another poultry seller echoed similar concern, saying he preferred not to buy chicken at excessive price. He said traders were claiming that poultry farmers have raised price of chicken unilaterally and that was why they left with no option but to raise wholesale price of meat.

Owing to inflated chicken meat price, several shopkeepers did not run their business as their shops have been closed in various blocks of New Garden Town, Model Town and Model Town Extension.

The prices of live chicken already started spiraling with onset of April, reaching a record level of Rs 459 per kg from Rs 421, according to official price list. People complained that poultry various sellers did not follow the price list and were involved in selling chicken at higher price. Citizens say that it has become difficult to buy chicken as the current prices have reached such a high level. Not only the chicken but other the commodities have become expensive, they lamented.

People were of the view that government did succeed in curbing poultry prices at the onset of holy month of Ramazan.

However, after 15th of the month, poultry prices returned to previous levels and kept on increasing after every other day. They demanded of the government to take strict action against traders circulating fake price list.

People also questioned role of administration in controlling price of commodities. It looked that traders had no fear in circulating fake price list and selling chicken at such a high price, they observed.

On the other hand, poultry association termed increase in poultry prices as a result of factors involving supply and demand. Owing to the increase in the cost of doing business, the market dynamics have been disturbed. Many people involved in the chicken business, especially small farmers and traders, have been affected by the current crisis and many poultry farms have been shut down. Imported poultry feed ingredients are very expensive, including soybean.

It is worth mentioning here that the prices of several food items have skyrocketed in the provincial capital. The hike in prices comes as the local administration failed to enforce the official rate list. For instance, on Saturday, tomatoes are being sold at staggering price of Rs. 300 to Rs 400 per kg against official price of Rs. 130 per kg.

Despite clear instructions by the high ups for regularly monitoring implementation of various measures to ensure price stability and to check hoarding and profiteering, the problem have yet to be controlled, leaving people on the mercy of hoarders and traders involved in black-marketing of commodities.