Rain, flood send prices of essentials up 110pc in Aug

Dhaka,  Wed,  20 September 2017
Published : 17 Aug 2017, 22:49:54

Rain, flood send prices of essentials up 110pc in Aug

TCB data show highest spike in onion, chilli
FE Report

Heavy rain and flood heated up the kitchen market, sending prices of essentials as high as 110 per cent higher in August than those in July, the government said.

Onion, garlic, vegetables, and some fish species witnessed further hike last week that ended on Thursday.

Onion prices shot up by 90-110 per cent, 15 kinds of vegetables by 50-100 per cent, chilli by 110 per cent, garlic by 20 per cent, riverine fish (excluding Hilsa) by 20-30 per cent and indigenous chicken by 10 per cent in the last two weeks, according to the state-run Trading Corporation of Bangladesh (TCB) and Department of Agricultural Marketing (DAM).

Rain, flood send prices of essentials up 110pc in AugPrices of onion, garlic, vegetables and fish witnessed a10-20 per cent hike in a week, the TCB data showed.

Supply shortage amid crop loss in 22 districts due to heavy rain and flood, waterlogging and nagging traffic in some wholesale hubs like Chittagong, Jessore and Dinajpur worsened.

Also, higher import costs of some produce caused the price hike in essentials, said traders.

Market observers, however, put especial emphasis on monitoring so that traders could not pocket "unethical" profits in excuse of flood.

Md Shahriar Hossain, a grocer at Rayer Bazar in the city, said onion price had increased by Tk 500 per 50-kg sack in the last seven days at Karwan Bazar.

He said onion of local variety was sold at Tk 35 a kg in the last part of July, which is now Tk 60-Tk 65 a kg.

"We sold Indian varieties at Tk 25-32 a kg last month, which is now Tk 50-Tk 55 a kg," he said.

Narayan Chandra Saha, a spice trader and importer at Shyambazar wholesale market in the city, said price hike in India was responsible for the rise in onion prices on the local market.

He said prices of domestic produce also increased in line with the Indian onion amid heavy rain and floods in many districts.

Mr Saha said onion import cost rose to Tk 37-Tk 40 recently from Tk 16-Tk 22 a kg earlier.

He said prices of imported onion might go up further as the Indian government was considering fixing minimum export price (MEP) for the item (US $450 a tonne) amid a hike in prices on its domestic market.

Secretary of Consumers Association of Bangladesh (CAB) Humayun Kabir Bhuiyan said imported onion under new L/Cs was yet to hit the market.

But the spice, imported in June and July at Tk 16 to Tk 22 a kg, is selling at Tk 50 in city markets, he said.

He said private importers brought in over 0.75 million tonnes of onion in the last seven months when local production was 1.8 million tonnes.

There is no shortage of the produce, he said.

Strict market monitoring is needed to keep prices within the reach of fixed-income group ahead of the upcoming Eid-ul-Azha, he said.    

However, prices of 15 vegetables including okra, snake gourd, pointed gourd, sponge gourd, and bottle gourd, increased by 60-100 per cent in the last two and half weeks in major cities, DAM data showed.

DAM assistant director T M Rashed Khan said that flood and inundation in 22 districts under Rangpur, Rajshahi, Mymensingh, Dhaka, Khulna and Chittagong divisions have caused damage to more than 0.12 million hectares of vegetable fields.

He said pointed gourd was selling at Tk 40 a kg even at Savar, Dhamrai and Manikganj, famous for the produce.

He said that some 8,000 hectares of green chilli fields have washed away due to rain and waterlogging.

Meanwhile, the Flood Forecasting and Warning Centre (FFWC) under the Water Development Board (BWDB) in its seven-day forecast, said water flow in major rivers including Jamuna, Brahmaputra, and Padma might continue to rise.

The centre has also been predicting a severe flood this month amid heavy rain, rising trend of rivers and the onrush of water from the neighbouring country.

DAM's Rashed Khan said prices of vegetables might soar further if flood prolonged.        

However, garlic prices increased by Tk 20-30 a kg in a week as the Chinese variety was sold at Tk 130-160 and local at Tk 110-Tk 130 a kg on Thursday.

Editor : A.H.M Moazzem Hossain
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