old navy blazer
A tale of two summer jackets
November 6, 2010
All in a day’s work!
November 12, 2010

I was a little surprised – I mean, why protest sugar price hike only? Why not everything else too that’s going wrong in our lives because of current government’s policies? When the prices of all essential commodities (including indispensable foodstuffs, everyday staples, energy, power and fuel) are rising without rhyme or reason, without any notice, just like that, why were the folk out on the streets to protest the prices of sugar? By Fareeha Qayoom

I was a little surprised – I mean, why protest sugar price hike only? Why not everything else too that’s going wrong in our lives because of current government’s policies?  When the prices of all essential commodities (including indispensable foodstuffs, everyday staples, energy, power and fuel) are rising without rhyme or reason, without any notice, just like that, why were the folk out on the streets to protest the prices of sugar?

By Fareeha Qayoom

sugar

Y

esterday I heard on the news that people were on the streets to protest the escalating prices of sugar. I understand the prices have gone up from PKR 30 per Kg to 110 Kg (PKR 120 per Kg in some cities according to Daily Times editorial) in the open market within a span of 12 -18 months.  I also remember sugar used to be around PKR 18 per kg to PKR 28 Kg not very long ago.

A pot of tea x 2
Photo by karenwithak

I was a little surprised – I mean, why protest sugar price hike only? Why not everything else too that’s going wrong in our lives because of current government’s policies?  When the prices of all essential commodities (including indispensable foodstuffs, everyday staples, energy, power and fuel) are rising without rhyme or reason, without any notice, just like that, why were the folk out on the streets to protest the prices of sugar?

No, I am not insensitive like Nazar Muhammad Gondal, the federal minister for food and agriculture who reportedly “offered a very simple and logical solution to the people of Pakistan” a few days ago – according to him, “since sugar is a luxury item, the people should stop using it.”  I mean I am upset with the whole range of stuff, not just sugar, so I didn’t get the ordinary folk’s fixation with the sugar shortage only. Naturally, I asked around at home since I was curious – a couple of family members were surprised at my surprise!

My elder sister asked me a question instead of giving me a direct reply – “How many sugar lumps does our cleaner and housemaid, our Qari Sab and our gardener take in their mugs of tea?” I said, “Three lumps at least.”  “There you go, Fareeha, Duh!”  I was already convinced that it was a big deal when I heard this argument. However, what clinched it for me forever was when I heard Sheikh Rashid spout forth on cable TV on ARY Digital Channel –  during the show  “Off the Record” with Kashif Abassi,  he apparently told the world at large and Ms. Wahab (PPP government) especially in the course of a conversation on other stuff that the common Joe (read Aslam) gets his regular calorie intake from sugar, unlike the rich folk like her who get their essential stuff from pills like “Vitamin A to Z” and rich diet! 🙂  Hmmm.

chocolate fudge cake

A slice of real chocolate fudge cake!

By the way, bakers and confectioners have already switched to brown sugar (Gur in local parlance!) and other sugar alternatives. We can tell. The other day, we bought a one pound Chocolate Fudge cake, a hot favorite, for a family birthday celebration- first of all, it was glazed with mocha-like beige icing on top, the chocolate, fudge and cream icing inside was also coated with gooey brown sugary taste – once upon a time, the cake used to be all dark chocolate, with three types of chocolate icing inside, not only the quality of cake has gone down, the price has gone up too.

Well, makes you think too – huh? ■

Today’s recommended reading: Forecast mechanism of sugar production: CCP forbids sugar millers from collecting data; Sweet Misery ; ‘Mafia’ sitting in Parliament created sugar crisis:’N’ Senator ; Shahbaz holds Centre responsible for sugar crisis ; Causes of sugar crisis

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Fareeha Qayoom
Fareeha Qayoom
Publisher and editor-in-chief of Tkfr.com and former print editions of The Knit-Xtyle Fashion Review (tkfr), a trade newsletter for the textile and apparel industry of Pakistan. In short, Publisher, editor, and a blogger. In addition, she has served as Managing Editor of MIT Technology Review Pakistan, print and web editions (2015-16). Total of 7 editions were published under her leadership by ITU, Punjab's first public technology university under the license of MIT Technology Review (USA). She has also managed Value Mag in the same capacity, a real estate and lifestyle magazine for Value TV - 2008-9. Published freelancer for The News on Sunday 1994-96. Fareeha has over 21 years of solid management experience – of managing brands (like Harley Davidson, Munsingwear, Chaps, Chaps Ralph Lauren etc.,), Retailers (like Target, Mervyns, Kohl's, Marks and Spencer etc.,), customers (VPs, Product Managers, Unit Managers, and Buyers), and products (apparel - woven, knits, men's, women's, children's, Print and online publishing units), projects, teams, and processes, information, content, and data, staff, vendors, and time. Versatile and adaptable with international exposure, communication and language skills (oral and written), and a consistent track record of achieving company targets and objectives, plus a MA in Political Science from Punjab University, a MSc in Economics from La Salle University, Louisiana, USA, and a BA in Economics from Kinnaird College for Women.

16 Comments

  1. More reading?

    Tuesday, November 09, 2010

    Govt responsible for sugar crisis: PSMA

    * Chairman says price will come down to Rs 70 in crushing season after Eidul Azha

    LAHORE: Pakistan Sugar Mills Association (PSMA) Chairman Javed Kiyani has blamed the government for creating sugar crisis in the country after delayed sugar imports supply to the national markets.

    http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2010\11\09\story_9-11-2010_pg5_4

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  2. Sugar crisis would end soon: Tanvir Ashraf
    LAHORE – 10th November 2010
    By APP

    Provincial Minister for Finance and Planning & Development Tanvir Ashraf Kaira while avowing strict action against profiteers Wednesday said the government would soon overcome the sugar crisis in the country.

    http://www.aaj.tv/2010/11/sugar-crisis-would-end-soon-tanvir-ashraf/

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  3. Sugar crisis to further deepen
    By: Imran Ali Kundi | Published: November 10, 2010

    ISLAMABAD – The tall claims of the government to tackle sugar crisis are confined to the mere statements and no practical steps are taken, as commodity price is still fluctuating around Rs 120 per kg in different parts of the country.
    The sugar crisis is likely to further deepen in next few days and it is feared that its prices might go beyond Rs 130 per kg in the country. According to the market sources, sugar prices currently went beyond Rs 120 per kg against the earlier price of Rs 85 per kg. Sources were of the view that there was only artificial shortage of the commodity.

    http://www.nation.com.pk/pakistan-news-newspaper-daily-english-online/Politics/10-Nov-2010/Sugar-crisis-to-further-deepen

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  4. Sugar barons’ clout in govt blamed for crisis
    From the Newspaper
    Yesterday
    By Amin Ahmed

    ISLAMABAD: The Network for Consumer Protection has expressed concern at the dramatic increase in sugar price and alleged that sugar barons having clout in the government have created an artificial shortage.

    Sugar price has surged to an all-time high of Rs120 per kg in a week from Rs85 on Oct 31, proving that the government has miserably failed to keep a check on food prices and provide relief to consumers, a press release issued by the organisation said on Tuesday.

    http://public.dawn.com/2010/11/10/sugar-barons%E2%80%99-clout-in-govt-blamed-for-crisis.html

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  5. Punjab had warned Centre of sugar crisis

    ISLAMABAD: The Centre was duly forewarned about the current sugar crisis in a series of official communications by the Punjab government, the latest one issued five months back seeking timely import of the commodity to avert the worst ever sugar crisis in the country.

    http://www.pmln.org/media/nd_318_punjab-had-warned-centre-of-sugar-crisis.pmln

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  6. Sugar price fixed at Rs 72 per kg

    * Decision taken at meeting in Interior Ministry

    * Interior minister says security plan for Muharram to be finalised soon

    ISLAMABAD: In order to bring down soaring prices of sugar, the government on Friday decided to keep the rate of the essential commodity up to Rs 72 per kilogramme throughout the country, besides directing the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to submit a report on sugar hoarders to the government by November 15.

    http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2010\11\13\story_13-11-2010_pg7_15

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  7. Sugar price fixed at Rs72/ Kg
    Updated at: 2320 PST, Friday, November 12, 2010

    ISLAMABAD: Arresting the exceptionally soaring trends of sugar price, the higher authorities on Friday decided to keep the rate of the essential commodity up to Rs. 72 per Kg throughout the country, besides directing FIA to submit report on hoarding to the government by Tuesday (Nov 15).

    http://www.thenews.com.pk/latest-news/4760.htm

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  8. Centre, province to file report on price raise
    LAHORE: The Lahore High Court on Friday issued notices and sought a detailed report from the Federal and Punjab government till November 22 on a petition against increase in sugar prices.

    Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed said that the sugar mafia had created an artificial shortage of sugar by hoarding it and selling it at inflated rates.

    http://tribune.com.pk/story/76533/centre-province-to-file-report-on-price-raise/

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  9. Sugar crisis

    LHC seeks replies from federal, Punjab govts

    Staff Report

    LAHORE: Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed of the Lahore High Court (LHC) on Friday called replies until November 22 from the federal and Punjab governments on a petition against the government’s failure to control sugar crisis across the country.

    http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2010\11\13\story_13-11-2010_pg13_3

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  10. Artificial control on prices to backfire: PSMA

    MUSHTAQ GHUMMAN

    ISLAMABAD (November 14, 2010) : The Chairman of Pakistan Sugar Mills Association (PSMA), Javed Kayani, said on Saturday that artificial control on sugar prices would prove counterproductive, like last year. Talking to Business Recorder, he said that sugar price can only stabilise when the supply improves. However, according to him, as an interim step an indicative price would be a step in the right direction, which would mitigate the sufferings of the general public.

    http://www.brecorder.com/news/top-stories/1124541:artificial-control-on-prices-to-backfire-psma.html

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  11. Yesterday, a colleague at work told me “Gondal is not insensitive – he’s right. People will not die if they don’t use sugar everyday or even rice…however, if there is a wheat shortage or a milk shortage – it will be a big deal.” hmmm

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  12. Arrest of former chief: TCP officials in a state of shock

    MUSHTAQ GHUMMAN

    ISLAMABAD (November 15, 2010) : With the arrest of former Chairman of Trading Corporation of Pakistan (TCP), Abdul Malik, top officials (incumbent and retired) of corruption tainted state owned company are in a state of shock and seeking God’s mercy. “Allah Hum Par Rahum Kary (God have mercy on us), I am expecting more arrests in wheat and sugar import deals as few big fish within the TCP are still at large,” commented one TCP official.

    http://www.brecorder.com/news/top-stories/1124812:arrest-of-former-chief-tcp-officials-in-a-state-of-shock.html

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  13. Tonight With Najam Sethi – 15th November 2010
    Muneeb Farooq presents a fresh episode of Tonight With Najam Sethi on Dunya TV. Today’s hot issue – sugar crisis!

    http://www.awaztoday.com/playvideo.asp?pageId=11683

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  14. Yet another sugar crisis looming

    Growers demand higher prices for sugarcane

    By Ijaz Kakakhel

    ISLAMABAD: Another sugar crises is expected in the next season as the sugarcane growers are demanding higher prices of cane than prescribed by the government for the ongoing season and the ex-mills sugar price will cross Rs 100 per kg, sources told Daily Times here on Tuesday.

    http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2010\11\24\story_24-11-2010_pg5_7

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  15. Sugar Surges to 30-Year High on Pakistan’s Demand; Coffee, Cocoa Advance
    By Stephen Morris and Debarati Roy – Dec 24, 2010 1:08 AM GMT+0500

    Sugar jumped to a 30-year high as Pakistan said it may import 700,000 metric tons to ease domestic shortages. Coffee, cocoa and orange juice also gained.

    Sugar production in Pakistan “will reach 3.3 million tons” in the year ending June 30, short of demand at 4.2 million tons, Farm Minister Nazar Muhammad Gondal said. Record rainfall in Australia, the world’s third-largest exporter, will curb production and shipments next season for a second year, Queensland Sugar Ltd. said.

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2010-12-23/sugar-surges-to-30-year-high-on-pakistan-s-demand-coffee-cocoa-advance.html

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  16. Govt fails to rein in sugar prices
    LAHORE – The government has failed to rein in sugarcane prices as middlemen have maintained high price levels through manipulation, industry sources told Pakistan Today on Thursday.
    There has also been a lack of progress with regards to the decision of federal cabinet which had linked the sugarcane support price to the sucrose recovery level. Farmers have complained that they are forced to sell their crop at relatively lower rates with sugar millers emerging as major beneficiaries and earning millions of rupees.

    http://pakistantoday.com.pk/pakistan-news/Business/24-Dec-2010/Govt-fails-to-rein-in-sugar-prices

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