No vegetables available below Tk50 a kilo

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Potatoes have also started becoming an expensive vegetable, hiking by Tk10 and sold in retails for Tk50 per kilogram in the capital on Saturday
Rajib Dhar/Dhaka Tribune

Green chillies sold for Tk300 per kg, potatoes Tk50 in retail

The prices of most essential commodities, including vegetables, egg, ginger, oil and rice have been uncontrollably spiralling in the city’s kitchen markets over the past week.

No vegetables were found selling below Tk50 per kg, while green chilli prices soared up to Tk300per kilogram on Saturday, aggravating consumer sufferings as it dealt a huge blow to their purchasing capacities.

Traders shifted the blame on supply shortage due to floods and season endings for several items as the main causes of the price hike.

Consumers rejected these as excuses and said a syndicate was behind the price manipulation, who were out to make a quick profit, thanks to lack of extensive market monitoring.

Visiting several markets including Malibagh, Rampura, Mogbazar, Farmgate and Karwanbazar, this correspondent found most of the items’ price had increased by Tk10 to even Tk100 per kg.

The price of green chillies increased most by Tk100 a kg, retailing at Tk300 per kg which was Tk190-220 per kg last week and Tk160-200 per kg a month ago.

Potatoes also started becoming an expensive vegetable, hiking by Tk10 and sold in retails for Tk50 per kg.

Aubergines sold for Tk85-100 a kg, papayas for Tk50 a kg, beans for Tk85 a kg, cucumbers for Tk100 a kg, tomatoes Tk120-140 a kg, ladies fingers for Tk70 a kg, and both cauliflowers and cabbages were selling for Tk50 a kg.

Egg prices also increased slightly from Tk34-37 for four pieces to Tk37-38.

Local onions were now selling in retail for Tk95-110 per kg, while the imported variety retailed at Tk100-120 per kg.

The imported variety of ginger retailed at Tk220-280 a kg and the local variety retailed at Tk160-200 a kg. Imported garlic sold for Tk90-100 a kg and local ones for Tk100-120 a kg.

“Due to floods, supply scarcity and season ending for several vegetables, the prices of vegetables increased,” said Bayzid Ahmed, a retailer at Malibagh.

Rice prices remain high

The price of rice remained high despite the government fixing the price two weeks ago. 

A kilogram of BR-28 rice sold for Tk52-56, miniket for Tk57-65 per kg, coarse variety of Najirshail for Tk45-50 a kg and fine variety for Tk62-65. Swarna (a thicker variety of rice), was the only kind of rice available and selling for Tk45-50 a kg.

Although the Trading Corporation of Bangladesh (TCB) figures show lower prices than that in markets, it showed that prices only increased by Tk2-4 per kg. 

It said that a kg of Miniket and Najirshail were retailing at Tk56-62, medium quality Paijam rice at Tk50-55 and Atap at Tk 48-50. 

The prices of these items had increased 14%-44% from the last year, the figures showed.

Price of other commodities

Meanwhile, the price of edible oil also increased by Tk4-5 per litre. Unpacked soybean oil sold for Tk90-95 a litre while palm oil sold for Tk85-90 a litre.

A litre of bottled soybean oil sold for Tk108-110 while a five-litre bottle of packed soybean oil sold for Tk470-520.

Among the spices, dried chillies and cumin prices increased by Tk40-50 tk per kg, retailing at Tk240-300 per kg and Tk350-450 per kg respectively.

Broiler chicken increased to Tk120-130 a kg from Tk110-115 a kg over the week.

“As the prices of all commodities are high, I have to buy a minimum quantity of an item like half kg instead of buying one kg of the items, as I have to cover my budget within Tk500 for a week,” said Abeda Khatun, a garment worker from Rampura.

TCB statistics also showed that potato prices increased by 84.44% from last year.

“Potatoes were our last alternative as a cheap vegetable compared to the other ones. Now, with its prices increasing, I do not know how I will feed my family,” said Masiur Rahman, a rickshaw puller from Farmgate.

Consumers Association of Bangladesh (CAB) President Golam Rahman said buyers cannot afford it as 20% income of people had reduced due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Most people have lost their purchasing abilities. The commodity prices are not coming under control in any way. In such a crucial time, the government must take necessary actions against price manipulators to make the market stable,” he added.

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