Retailers hinted that the prices of red meat, chicken and fruits may increase further before Eid-ul-Fitr
The prices of most daily essentials have remained unchanged this Ramadan amid intense market monitoring by the authorities, but fruits and meat, especially beef, are selling at higher prices.
Blamingsyndication among wholesalers for the situation, retailers hinted that the prices of red meat, chicken and fruits may increase further before Eid-ul-Fitr.
Visiting the kitchen markets and makeshift shops at Kalabagan, Shukrabad, Rajabazar and Karwan Bazar, Dhaka Tribune found that there was almost no change in the prices of rice, oil, sugar, onion, garlic, chickpeas, flour and lentils. The selling prices were almost the same as at the beginning of Ramadan.
The retail price of both “miniket” and “najirshail” rice is between Tk55-Tk60 per kg, with aromatic rice priced at Tk90-Tk110. Soybean oil is selling at Tk105 per litre, with a five-litre bottle going for Tk450.
Dates of different varieties are priced between Tk100-Tk1,400 per kg, chickpea flour is selling between Tk50-Tk110 per kg, chickpeas at Tk70-Tk80, lentils for Tk60-130, and sugar between Tk55-Tk60.
Powdered milk is selling at Tk430-Tk600 per kg, onions of both local and Indian varieties at Tk30 per kg, garlic (local) at Tk30, ginger (imported) at Tk100, ginger (local) Tk200, white peas at Tk40, and puffed rice at Tk60-110 per kg.
Md Khalilur Rahman, owner of Janata Rice Agency at Karwan Bazar, said: “The prices of aromatic rice shot up to Tk19 in the last three months due to growing demand.”
But there is little chance of rice prices going up further anytime soon, he said, due to adequate supply in the markets.
Md Jakir Hossain, a Karwan Bazar grocer, said: “The prices of all essentials are reasonable. If the wholesalers do not stockpile products to create an artificial crisis, there is no reason for prices to go up.”
Expressing satisfaction over the prices of daily essentials, Riaz Hossain, a customer, said the retailers were not charging them higher prices, like in the past. But he was concerned about the prices of fruits, fish and meat.
“We have to think twice before buying fruits and meat because of the excessive price,” Riaz added.
A similar sentiment came from Abdul Quddus, another shopper, who found the prices of rice, lentil, oil, chickpeas and other essentials quite under control.
He, however, termed red meat, fish and fruits way too costly.
Vegetables, too, did not see much change in prices as compared to previous Ramadans.
Potato is selling at Tk15 per kg, brinjal at Tk50, and pointed gourd, snake gourd, bitter gourd, okra and tomato at Tk40 per kg. Green chilies are selling at Tk80 and cucumber at Tk40 per kg, with each lemon costing up to Tk6.
Higher prices of fruits because of syndication
Most fruits, both locally grown and imported, have seen an abnormal rise in prices. Malta (orange) is selling at Tk200, which was around Tk130 a kg even a month ago. The price of apples rose to Tk240, from Tk180-200 within a matter of three weeks.
Golden and red grapes are priced at Tk500 and Tk400, respectively. A dozen of bananas is on sale at Tk70-95, pineapples of different sizes at Tk30-50, each kg of watermelon at Tk70-80, honeydew melons at Tk60-120, and every one hundred pieces of lychees between Tk250-500.
Jakir Hossain, a fruit seller at Karwan Bazar, alleged that fruit prices shot up due to the “machinations” of wholesalers and importers.
“We just make a marginal profit, but they (wholesalers and importers) make huge profits, taking advantage of the massive demand during Ramadan,” he said.
He further said the prices may soar even further, especially after the 27th of Ramadan.
Bangladesh Fresh Fruit Importers’ Association was unavailable for comments over the price hike.
Increase in meat prices due to high demand
Despite Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC) setting the price of beef at Tk525 per kg, mutton at Tk650-750, and buffalo meat at Tk480kg within the capital city, a number of traders were seen charging Tk50 more than the prices fixed.
Md Rasel Mia, a meat vendor at East Rajabazar, said they, too, have nothing to do with the pricing issue as they source meat from wholesalers.
“If the wholesales do not sell meat at a lower price, how can we charge our customers reasonably?” he asked, adding that meat prices may cross the Tk600 mark within three to four days, considering the high demand for Eid.
According to Bangladesh Meat Traders’ Association (BMTA), some 4,500 cows are being slaughtered daily in Dhaka. But after the 25th of Ramadan, that number will soar to 5,500 cows, ahead of the Eid festival.
“Starting from the 28th day of Ramadan till Eid, as many as 10,000 cows will be slaughtered,” BMTA President Rabiul said, adding that each cow provides about 80 kg of meat.
Meanwhile, broiler chicken is now priced at Tk155-165 per kg, which was Tk130 a month back. Each “sonali” chicken is being sold for Tk250-280, depending on the size, while each kg of local chicken is selling for Tk500, up from Tk400 last month.
Md Dulal Hossain, a trader at Karwan Bazar, said he sells up to 300 chickens on an average day, but the demand has doubled in the past week, pushing the prices up.