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Dhaka Tribune

Essential commodities keep getting out of reach

Traders attributed the price hike to a squeeze in supply amid low import as well as a notable decline in local production

Update : 16 Oct 2022, 08:05 PM

Essential cooking items including flour, chickens, egg, fish, onion, vegetables and ginger kept getting pricier last week, hitting consumers harder than before.

Traders attributed the price hike to a squeeze in supply amid low import as well as a notable decline in local production.

Prices of wheat flour (atta), coarse atta and all purpose flour (maida) increased by Tk2-3 per kilogram in the capital.

Maximum retail price (MRP) of loose atta reached Tk58 and loose maida Tk66 a kg on Saturday.

MRP of packet atta and maida of different brands remained at their previous highs of Tk65 and Tk75 a kg respectively.

Broiler chicken, a source of protein for the commoners, witnessed a Tk15 per kg hike last week.

It was sold at Tk185-195 a kg while farm egg price increased by Tk5 per dozen to Tk150 a dozen in the 7-day period.

Fish also showed considerable price hike in the period.

Cultured fish including pangas, tilapia and koi prices increased by Tk20-30 a kg to Tk180-Tk260 a kg.

Rui was sold at Tk280-400 a kg.

Onions got pricier as well by Tk10 a kg as local varieties of onion were retailed at Tk50-60 and imported one at Tk45-55 a kg on Saturday.

Ginger marked a Tk20-30 per hike as was sold at Tk260 a kg at the retails.

Vegetable prices witnessed a Tk5-10 per kg hike in the period.

Tomato, whose supply is likely to increase day by day as winter is not far away, was sold at Tk140-150 a kg.

Carrot, another winter vegetable, retailed at Tk130-140 while local beans at Tk120-130 and long beans at Tk90-100 a kg.

All kinds of gourd species were retailed at Tk60-80 a kg with bottle gourd one piece retailing at Tk60-70.

Early-harvested cauliflower and cabbage was sold at Tk50-60 a kg while leafy was retailed at Tk15-35 per bunch.

However, rice remained at its previous high in terms of price.

Coarse varieties of the staple were retailed at Tk50-54 a kg, medium ones Tk56-65 while the finer variety at Tk72-98 a kg in different city markets and grocery shops.

Price hike vigilance 

The government will take action against the unscrupulous traders who will increase commodity prices through different mechanisms, warned Fisheries and Livestock Minister SM Rezaul Karim recently.

He also said market monitoring is not within the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock but they will talk to the agencies concerned to thwart the syndicate, if there is any.

SM Nazer Hossain, vice-president of Consumers Association of Bangladesh (CAB), said that they have continuously been demanding the relevant authorities regarding the increase in the price of the essentials.

“But the demands of ordinary consumers are not taken into account in the same way as those of the businesses,” he added.

If some demands are accepted, the interests of the businessmen are mainly protected as even if the price of a product is set lower, the traders do not accept it and sell at the old price for a long time, he alleged.

“Global prices of soybeans, flour, and many products have decreased but domestic prices are still high. Businesses hike prices under the pretext of the global market and do not reduce the price anymore,” he said, adding that traders were constantly cheating consumers this way.

Moreover, except the Directorate of National Consumer Rights Protection (DNCRP), no responsible government departments monitored prices. Prices of a number of commodities have gone up which have no link with the global market due to lack of proper monitoring, he lamented.

“On the pretext of an increase in freight charges, the prices of many products have increased, but the freight charges have decreased, but there is no sign of a decrease in prices,” he added.

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