During the holy month of Ramazan, traditional Pakistani meat dishes have become increasingly unaffordable for the middle class in Karachi due to the absence of an effective price control mechanism. Despite officially notified rates set by the city administration, meat merchants continue to sell mutton and beef at significantly higher prices, causing financial strain on consumers.

Officially, the prices of mutton and beef are fixed at Rs1,700 and Rs800 per kilogram, respectively. However, retailers are charging exorbitant rates ranging from Rs2,000 to Rs2,300 per kilogram for mutton and Rs1,200 to Rs1,400 per kilogram for beef.

The Meat Merchant Welfare Association (MMWA) president, Haroon Qureshi, cited the increase in wholesale rates and meat exports as reasons for the surge in retail prices. He highlighted the impact of exporters purchasing a large number of animals from local markets, leading to a demand-supply gap and subsequent price hikes.

Qureshi criticized the city administration's enforcement efforts, labeling the official rates as unrealistic and condemning actions taken against meat retailers. He expressed dissatisfaction with the lack of consultation with meat sellers in determining the prices and threatened to close down businesses indefinitely if the situation persisted.

Furthermore, Qureshi emphasized the need for a collaborative approach to address the issue, suggesting measures to regulate exports from local markets to stabilize animal prices and subsequently reduce meat prices. The MMWA demanded the revision of prices in consultation with their association to ensure feasibility and fairness.

Despite the challenges in the local market, the country's meat exports have seen a significant increase, reaching 70,458 tonnes in the first seven months of FY24. Exporters are exploring new markets and diversifying their shipments to sustain growth in the industry.

Written By Web Desk

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