Traders claim inadequate supply
The price of ilish fish in the capital’s kitchen markets and chain shops has skyrocketed ahead of Pohela Boishakh, the first day of Bangla calendar, due mostly to inadequate supply and sudden leap in the demand for the delicacy.
Pohela Boishakh is observed every year to welcome the new year with the tradition of taking water-soaked rice and ilish. This year it will be celebrated on Sunday.
“The demand for ilish has increased right before the occasion, but supply of the fish is inadequate in the markets, which pushed up its price,” said Mosharraf Hossain, president of the traders association of Khan Fish Wholesale Market at Jatrabari.
“Now it is hisa reproduction season and the government imposed a ban on fishing jatka, the ilish fry, for two month — March and April,” he told the Dhaka Tribune, claiming that it also affected the supply of the fish.
In a visit to some of Dhaka’s kitchen markets and chain shops including Karwan Bazar, Malibag, Shwapno and Agora on Thursday, prices of the fish was found to go up by 30% to 50% than the previous week.
Ilish were selling at Tk800 to Tk3500 depending on size.
A piece of ilish weighing one kg was selling at Tk2,800 per kilogram on Thursday at Kawran Bazar and Malibag kitchen market while it was below Tk2,000 one week ago. A kg of small size ilish, each weighing 500 to 600 gram, was selling at Tk1,000 to Tk12,000 what was below Tk800 in previous week.
Besides, a kg of large size ilish, each weighing up to 1.5 kg, was selling at Tk3,500 what was previously Tk3,000.
Chain shops Shwapno and Agora were selling the fish at Tk1,100 to Tk2,350 per piece based on their sizes.
However, the government estimates say that prices of ilish increased by 29.41% in the last one month till Thursday.
According to Trading Corporation of Bangladesh (TCB) data, ilish was selling at Tk600 to Tk1,600 per kg on Thursdayand it was Tk500 to Tk1,200 a week ago.
Traders said this year prices were higher compared to previous year.
“The prices started jumping a week ago and reached up to 10% higher than that of this time last year,” said Karwan Bazar-based fish trader Md Maruf.
The supply was not adequate in the market, because of government ban on jatka netting for two months, he said.
“We receive three to four trucks of ilish fish a day now, what was 30 to 35 trucks in the fishing season,” said Jatrabari-based wholesaler Mosharraf Hossain.
The fish is caught mainly from the Padma and the Megna and a small amount from other rivers. Majority of the ilish come from Chadpur, Lakshmipur, Bhola and other districts of Barishal division.