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People gasp as rice, vegetables join onion in price hike race

  • Published at 09:28 pm November 16th, 2019
onion sell-tcb
People swarm a Trading Corporation of Bangladesh truck selling onion at subsidized rate in the capital on Saturday, November 16, 2019 Mehedi Hasan/Dhaka Tribune

They are finding it hard to manage the extra money they need to spend on the essential items because of their skyrocketing prices

Exorbitant prices of onion, both local and imported, coupled with increasing prices of rice and vegetables, have put a severe strain on the life of fixed income group people. 

They are finding it hard to manage the extra money they need to spend on the essential items because of their skyrocketing prices. 

Over the week, the prices of onion in Dhaka's retail kitchen markets soared to record Tk240-250 a kilogram kg, with the one imported from Myanmar selling for Tk230-240 a kg.

Visiting several kitchen markets on Saturday in the capital's Malibagh, Rampura, Madhubag and Karwanbazar, local onion was found being wholesaled at Tk200-220, and those from Myanmar for Tk220.

Alam Khan, a buyer from Panthapath, said: “Onion market has been unstable for months and the situation is aggravating every day. What is more concerning is that now prices of rice and vegetables have started going up. How will we survive?”

Selim Mallik, a trader of Karwanbazaar, said: “Because of high price we did not buy any onion on Sunday. We have a small stock to sell. Every day the magistrate comes and asks us why we sell at high price. If I buy at high price, how can I sell at lower price? It is the importer who increasing the price; we are not doing this. The magistrate should ask them.”

Meanwhile, Trading Corporation of Bangladesh (TCB) has continued their open market sale of onion across the city, with people queuing up in long lines in front of their selling points.

When asked if they have any plan to increased the OMS point, TCB spokesperson Humayun Kabir said they had no such plan. 

“Onions are selling at Tk45 per kg at 35 points of open market sale regularly. We have no plan to increase the OMS point. Besides, we have nothing to do with the high price except selling onion in OMS at lower price,” he added.

On September 29, the Indian government banned the export of onion with immediate effect until further order in order to improve their domestic availability of onions.

Before that, the Indian government had fixed minimum export price of onion to rein in soaring prices in their domestic market. Since then, onion prices in Bangladesh markets have been on the rise. 

Meanwhile, S Alam Group is importing onion. The first consignment of onion from Egypt would be flown to Bangladesh on November 19 and S Alam Group was importing the onion from Egypt, the Ministry of Commerce said on Saturday.

On Friday, the government announced that onion would be bought from abroad on an emergency basis to keep the local market stable.

Vegetable prices up

Prices of some winter vegetables have also increased in the city's kitchen markets.

Prices of cauliflowers and cabbage both increased to Tk50-60 a piece, up by Tk15-30 per piece over the week. Cucumber price increased to Tk120 from Tk60 per kg, while carrot marked a rise to Tk80 from Tk70 per kg.

Radish sold for Tk50 per kg, beans Tk80, and green chili for Tk80-100 per kg.

Aubergine was selling for Tk60 per kg, papaya for Tk20-25 a kg, bitter gourd for Tk60 a kg, okra Tk60 and tomato for Tk100 a kg.

Among fishes, Rui was selling for Tk250-300 per kg, catfish for Tk350-400 per kg, Tilapia for Tk160-180 per kg, Koi for Tk170-180 per kg, shrimp Tk580-600, pangas Tk120-130 a kg.

Garlic sold for Tk150-160 and ginger for Tk180-190 a kg.

Broiler Egg sold for Tk95-100 a dozen (12 piece)

Rice price on the rise 

Prices of some varieties of rice increased by Tk3-8 a kilogram in the city over the week.

Traders said that the prices of some varieties of rice went up as rice mill owners increased the prices at the mill gate.

The coarse variety of Sawrna was selling for Tk38-40 a kg while BR-28 was retailing at Tk42-45 a kg in the city markets which was earlier Tk38, Miniket for Tk50 a kg, which was earlier Tk40-45 a kg, Jira sail Tk45 a kg, Basmoti Tk60 which was Tk56. 

Local trader Md Saiful Islam said: “Though there is no supply shortage, wholesalers have increased the price. So we have to increased it as well.”