Hilsa pricey despite adequate supply in market

Dhaka,  Thu,  24 August 2017
Published : 06 Aug 2017, 21:59:43

Hilsa pricey despite adequate supply in market

Market syndication found responsible
Hilsa pricey despite adequate supply in market
FE Report

Prices of Hilsa, the delicious fish, are much higher this year despite its adequate supply in the market, according to kitchen market sources.   

Traders attributed this to high prices at hubs of the fish while observers found market syndication responsible for making Hilsa costlier.

Prices of small-sized Hilsa are almost static but those of medium and big-sized ones are much higher this season compared to last year.

Small Hilsa, weighing 350-400 gram, was selling at Tk 500-Tk 650 per kg in different markets. It was Tk 450-Tk 600 a kg in the corresponding period of last year.

Medium-sized (700 gram to 850 gram) Hilsa was selling between Tk 500-Tk 850 while the big one (above 900 gram) were trading at Tk 1,000-Tk 1,800 a piece based on size. It is Tk 200-Tk 400 higher compared to last year, according to retail markets including Rayer Bazar, Mohammadpur Krishi Market, Bonolota Kitchen Market (New Market), Palashi and Hatirpool Bazar in the city.

However, the Trading Corporation of Bangladesh (TCB) data showed prices of medium and bigger-sized Hilsa 20 per cent higher this year than that of last monsoon.      

"The wholesale markets are buzzing with the silver fish, but prices are much higher," Md Belal, a fish retailer at Rayer Bazar, said.

He said medium Hilsa was trading at Tk 450-Tk 750 at Shawarighat wholesale market which was Tk 250-Tk 500 a piece last year.   

Fish trader at Karwan Bazar wholesale market Md Anisur Rahman said, "Hilsa supply increased significantly from the last week of July but prices are still higher in Chittagong, Barisal, Patuakhali, and Barguna."

Owner of Chittagong-based Seafood Bangladesh & Co Syed Mahatab Uddin Ahmed said Hilsa catch has increased but not to the expected level.

He said traders are selling big-sized fish (above 900 gram) at Tk 1,000 to Tk 1,450 at Fisherighat, Chittagong.  

Bangladesh Fish Traders Association president Golam Mortaza Montu told the FE that prices of Hilsa declined in Barisal region but are still higher in Chittagong.

He said prices might be falling notably within a few days as traders in the hubs are expecting more catches in the coming days as the monsoon is going to be lengthy this year.

Consumers' Association of Bangladesh (CAB) Secretary Humayun Kabir Bhuiyan said fish catch is 10-12 per cent higher in the Hilsa- collecting districts this year than that of last year.

Big traders in Chittagong, Barisal and Dhaka should be brought under surveillance for punitive action to stop any artificial price hike of Hilsa, he said.

People of limited income group should also get the opportunity to buy the national fish, he said.

An official at the Department of Fisheries said that the country's Hilsa production increased to 0.45 million tonnes in financial year (FY) 2016-17 (FY'17) from 0.405 million tonnes in FY'16.

Hilsa, the national fish of Bangladesh, is available throughout the year but monsoon is considered to be its peak season when prices become considerably cheaper.

Bangladesh produces 50-60 per cent of global Hilsa output.

Editor : A.H.M Moazzem Hossain
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