POST TIME: 15 February, 2020 09:48:11 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 15 February, 2020 09:56:41 AM
No let-up in vegetable prices
Government looks for alternative to China for garlic

No let-up in vegetable prices

A vendor sells vegetables to customers at a shop at Kaptan Bazar in the capital yesterday. Focusbangla photo

Prices of vegetables and spices remained high in the capital’s kitchen markets over the weekend despite winter vegetables being readily available. Customers at the markets were happy to see the early summer vegetables, but despaired at the high prices.

Search underway for alternative garlic suppliesTraders said the vegetable market was going through a transition as the stock of winter vegetables was nearly over and the early summer vegetables had just started arriving.

Garlic prices have been moving upwards in the recent past. Yesterday, garlic was retailing at Tk. 170–220 per kg, up from Tk. 130–170 two weeks back.

The Trading Corporation of Bangladesh (TCB) confirmed that garlic prices had increased to Tk. 160–220 per kg, a sharp increase from the Tk. 140–160 per kg range of two weeks earlier.

Imported Chinese varieties were selling for Tk. 180–220 per kg, signalling a 45 per cent hike in just two weeks, the TCB reported.

The government has started looking for alternative markets from which to source garlic and other essential items in order to prevent supply disruptions that may occur due to the coronavirus threat.

On Thursday, commerce minister Tipu Munshi had disclosed that more than 90 per cent of the country’s garlic imports came from China. He said the government was taking steps to improve market monitoring to prevent any attempts to artificially increase the prices of essential commodities.

Early summer vegetables arrive

Visits to several retail markets in the city, including Karwan Bazar, revealed that the prices of early summer vegetables were high, while winter vegetables rates had remained unchanged over the week. Sellers were demanding Tk. 50 per kg of tomatoes. Cabbages were being sold at Tk. 40–45 apiece, eggplants at Tk. 80 per kg, and beans at Tk. 40–50 per kg.

The prices of bitter gourds and gourds were quite high. Bitter gourds were being sold at Tk. 80 per kg and gourds at Tk. 100 apiece, depending on the size.

Radishes and green papayas were relatively cheap at Tk. 30–40 per kg. Newly harvested potatoes were selling at Tk. 30 per kg and stored potatoes at Tk. 22–25 per kg, depending on the variety.  Jalal Uddin, a trader in the Karwan Bazar kitchen market, said that the prices of winter vegetables had remained unchanged owing to adequate supply. “However, the prices of early summer vegetables were high,” he added.

Spice rates on a high

Red chilli powder had already become costlier, but its price increased by Tk. 25–30 per kg over the past week. Yesterday, the essential spice was selling at Tk. 380–420 per kg.

The prices of coriander seeds also increased to Tk. 140–165 per kg, up from last week’s rate of Tk. 125–150 per kg. The prices of loose turmeric powder surged by Tk. 30–40 per kg, leading to a retail price of Tk. 240–270 per kg yesterday. The price varied depending on the quality of the item and the location of the market.

Onions at retail markets

Onion prices did show a slight decline, but local varieties were still selling nearly at the previous high of Tk. 120–130 per kg.

Locally stocked onions were retailing at Tk. 110–130 per kg and newly harvested seed onions—the Murikata variety—were going for Tk. 120–140 per kg.

However, the prices of imported onions remained more or less static at Tk. 70–130 per kg, with the rates varying based on the quality of the bulb.

The TCB noted a 13 per cent decline in overall onion prices in the first week of February. But the prices of imported onions rose by 13 per cent in the last seven days.

Retail rates of other commodities

Sugar prices remained high, with both refined and locally produced sugar selling for Tk.70 per kg in the capital markets.

The price of broiler chicken decreased by Tk. 10 per kg over the week and was selling for Tk. 115–125 per kg yesterday. Locally bred varieties were going for Tk. 450 per kg.

The going rate for beef yesterday was Tk. 550–570 per kg, while mutton went for Tk. 750–800 per kg.

Farm egg prices, however, had decreased to Tk. 90–100 per dozen, down from Tk. 100–110 a month back.

The retail prices of rice remained unchanged over the week. Coarse varieties sold for Tk. 44–48 per kg, while BR-28 rice went for Tk. 46–50 per kg yesterday. The fine variety of Miniket rice sold for Tk. 55–60 per kg, while the coarse variety retailed at Tk. 52–56 per kg.