Food prices at markets in Ukhia and Teknaf upazilas stayed somewhat stable
Cox's Bazar may not be experiencing any food crisis because of Rohingyas, but the increase in prices of daily products has jeopardized the lives of common people.
Prices of necessary daily products such as edible oil, ginger, garlic, vegetables, spinach, fish and many more, increased in 2019, compared to last year. Nonetheless, rice, lentils, and onion prices remained constant.
Concerned officials, businessmen and common people relayed the information to this correspondent.
Prices have incessantly been rising in markets of Cox's Bazar city such as Boro Bazar, Baharchhara Bazar, Kanaiya Bazar, Rumaliarchhara Bazar, Upazila Gate Bazar, Link Road Bazar, along with markets in Ramu, Chakaria, Pekua, Maheshkhali, and Kutubdia upazilas of the district.
Likewise, although food prices at markets in Ukhia and Teknaf upazilas remained stable, prices of products and cost of vegetables increased unusually.
Rafiq Ullah, a kitchen market trader from Baharchhara in Cox's Bazar town, said: "Vegetables are perishable food products, which have to be sold within one or two days.
"Because of the high demand for food products right now, a vegetable-laden truck needs to bring in the supply twice a week, instead of one, from Chakaria or Chittagong city. Even then, there is still a crisis."
A grocery store and wholesale dealer from the same area, Sazal Kanti Dhar said: "There is no crisis due to the Rohingyas anymore. Crisis for food did not impact locally as Rohingyas, after meeting the family needs, sell the food they get through relief from different organizations in the open market. However, an impact is likely next year."
Zahir Uddin, a rice trader in Boro Bazar, said: "Price in the rice market did not increase much. Some organizations that provide relief to Rohingyas buy rice from me, which resulted in a decrease in sales for the local wholesalers.
"Therefore, it is believed that we wholesalers buy rice from the Rohingyas and sell them to the organizations again."
Helal Uddin, a businessman from near the Kutupalong Rohingya camp in Ukhia, said: "Locals are facing numerous problems because of the Rohingyas. This situation has been persisting since last year. Assuredly, locals are also provided with aid along with the Rohingyas."
Cox’s Bazar Bachao campaign President and former general secretary of Cox's Bazar District Bar Association Advocate Md Ayasur Rahman said, "If the Rohingyas are not repatriated, food crisis will increase in Cox's Bazar.
"At the same time, crimes will increase and the economy will be at a risk. Due to lack of adequate sanitation and infrastructural facilities, the danger of health hazards is increasing. At present, many camps are in crisis of clean water. These crises will keep on increasing if high prices of products in markets persist."
Sub-Inspector (SI) Jagdish Pal, working in Ukhia and Teknaf, said: "Because of the Rohingya influx, price of products in markets were unstable before, but has now become normal. Nevertheless, the prices are still slightly higher this year compared to last year.
According to the police official, prices of rice in Teknaf and Ukhia's Hatbazar at present are:
Coarse rice (Tk/kg)
Fine rice (Tk/kg)
Miniket rice (Tk/kg)
Tk26 to Tk40
Tk28 to Tk30
Tk42 to Tk47
Tk47 to Tk55
Cox's Bazar District Marketing Officer Shajahan Ali said: "There is no food crisis in the Cox's Bazar district so far, even though the price of vegetables is slightly high, but prices of other products are normal.
"However, there has been no impact on the market because of the Rohingyas. We constantly monitor the market and take necessary measures whenever a businessman carries out irregularities anywhere."
Cox's Bazar District Food Regulatory Officer SM Tahsinul Haque said: "I do not know about other regions of the country, but there is no food crisis in Cox's Bazar at present.
"However, prices of daily commodities in the market took a slight uphill turn since the arrival of Rohingyas. There has been a 30% increase this year compared to last year, but I cannot comment whether there will be food crisis in this district in the future."
Bangladesh is now hosting over a 1.1 million Rohingya population in different camps of Ukhia and Teknaf. Since August 25, 2017, more than 700,000 Rohingyas took shelter in Bangladesh, according to officials in Dhaka.
Due to the excessive pressure of the arrival of all these people, there was a food crisis in the whole district in the first few months. However, the condition of the market came to normal later.