Prices of onion and fish continued to increase last week raising sufferings of the consumers, already battered by rising costs of rice, cooking oil, sugar and other essential commodities in the last one month.
Meanwhile, some early varieties of summer vegetables hit the markets with high rates while lemon prices showed a further hike.
Onion, one of the main cooking ingredients, became costlier last week. All varieties of the tuber spice witnessed further hike as local onion reached Tk 50-55 per kg on Thursday at the city retail markets from Tk 35-40 a kg seven days back.
Imported onions also reached Tk 35-45 a kg on the day from Tk 20-25 a kg earlier.
The state-owned Trading Corporation of Bangladesh (TCB) recorded 25 per cent hike in local onion prices in the past seven days which was 35-40 per cent in the previous two weeks, when imported varieties witnessed a 66 per surge on an average.
However, the report by the TCB said that the current prices were 27 to 37 per cent lower than that of the corresponding period of last year.
Traders said decline in supply of early variety seed onion, known as ‘murikata’ and low import of it triggered the recent onion price hike.
They, however, expected that prices of the kitchen staple might show a decline in a few days well ahead of Ramadan with beginning of harvest of seasonal onion, known as haali.
The new spice crop will be harvested in full swing across the onion growing districts soon.
Sources at the Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE) said onion cultivation lands increased by 30,000 hectares to 0.26 million hectares this year.
Thanks to a rise in hybrid onion farming, the DAE is expecting an all-time high 2.9 million tonnes of output this year which is more than the country’s annual demand for the spice.
Meanwhile, different species of fish became costlier last week due mainly to a shortage of supply from some major sanctuaries amid the ongoing two-month-long fishing ban.
The government imposed the ban with the aim to protect immature hilsa (jatka).
Cultured ruhi was sold at Tk 240-360 per kg, farm katla at Tk 220-300 and Tilapia at Tk 180-200 a kg on Thursday- a Tk 20 a kg hike in a week.
Hilsa was almost absent in the market amid the fishing ban which also put impact on other river fishes, said traders.
Jalal Uddin, a fish vendor at Dhanmondi Road No 15, said indigenous ruhi, katla, boal, aar, shoul witnessed Tk 50-100 a kg hike last week.
He said local ruhi was selling at Tk 450-600 a kg based on size and quality on the day.
Mr Jalal said ‘aar’ fish from rivers were selling at Tk 850-950 depending on size while cultured variety of the species was trading at Tk 650-750 a kg yesterday.
He said prices of fish might remain high until the end of the fishing ban on April 30.
Prices of poultry meat, another source of protein, remained static in the past week maintaining previous high as broiler chicken was sold at Tk 150-155 a kg, layer Tk 200-220, ‘sonali murgi’ Tk 340-350 and indigenous chicken Tk 430-480 a kg on Thursday.
Early cultivated summer vegetables hit the market last week with high prices, said traders.
Pointed gourd, snake gourd, sponge gourd, long-yard bean, were trading at the market at Tk 70-100 a kg.
Rabi (winter) season vegetables, however, remained static within the vicinity of an affordable rate as most of the varieties were traded at Tk 25-45 a kg on the day.
But lemon prices showed a further hike with the rise of mercury in the late spring. The juicy veg was sold at Tk 13-20 a piece based on size and quality.