The consumer price inflation for food items in Pakistan was 45.1 percent in February 2023 on a year-on-year basis – the highest in South Asia after Sri Lanka with 54.4 percent, says the World Bank.
According to the bank’s most recent “Food Security Report,” domestic grain and wheat flour prices in South Asia are still volatile at the start of 2023 and much higher than they were at the same time last year. Prices for wheat flour in Pakistan in January 2023 soared to all-time highs and increased by 20 to 140% over the previous year.
The United Nations’ Food and Agricultural Agency (FAO) blames the high prices on largely stagnating production since 2018, stock losses, and delayed trade flows as a result of the floods in 2022, as well as high input and transportation costs for agriculture and high headline inflation.
Feb CPI jumps 31.5pc, highest rate in nearly 50 years
In January 2023, consumer price inflation for food prices was 6.2% in India, 7.8% in Bangladesh, and 5.6% in Nepal, according to the research.
According to the report, despite declines in Pakistan and Tanzania, rice output rose in 2022 thanks to increases in a number of nations, including India.
The US Department of Agriculture also forecasts a 4.5 percent decline in rice shipments since exports from Pakistan, Thailand, the US, and Vietnam should all decline more than offset India’s growth. Worldwide, domestic food price inflation is still very high.
The latest month for which data on food price inflation are available, between October 2022 and February 2023, shows high inflation in almost all low- and middle-income countries, with inflation levels above five percent in 94.1 percent of low-income countries, 86 percent of lower-middle-income countries, and 87 percent of upper-middle-income countries, and many experiencing double-digit inflation.
Moreover, substantial food price inflation is present in 87.3% of high-income nations. According to the report, the regions most impacted are Africa, North America, Latin America, South Asia, Europe, and Central Asia.