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Now, rice, ginger, garlic prices rising

Onion down ‘slightly’ in wholesale markets
Staff Reporter, Dhaka
Now, rice, ginger, 
garlic prices rising

Amid a mass outcry over skyrocketing prices of onions, prices of other kitchen essentials such as rice, garlic, and ginger have silently marked a northward trend. Miniket rice was selling for Tk.

45–52 a kg just a week ago. But the prices have gone up by Tk 3, being sold for Tk. 48-55 a kg in the capital’s kitchen market yesterday. Also, the price of Nazirshail rice was Tk. 53–60 a kg yesterday as against last week's Tk. 52–56. 

Traders at Krishi Market in Mohammadpur said the prices of fine rice varieties had gone up by Tk. 4-6 in a week. The price of garlic also increased by Tk. 10–20 a kilogram over the last one week. Garlic imported from China was retailing at Tk. 140–170 a kg, while its local variety was selling for Tk. 160–180 in the kitchen markets in the capital. The price of ginger also increased by Tk. 10–20 a kg, with its local variety of the spice being sold for Tk 150-160 per kg and the imported variety between Tk 140 and Tk 200. Why the sudden rise in prices?

After visiting several wholesale stores of Karwan Bazar and Mohammadpur Krishi market in the capital yesterday, this correspondent found that each 50-kg sack of Miniket rice was selling for Tk. 2,300, which is around Tk 300 higher than the price a week ago.

The price of each 50-kilo sack of Nazirshail rice shot up by at least Tk. 200 to Tk. 2,800.  

BR-28 rice was priced at Tk. 1, 900, up from Tk. 1, 700 at the end of last week.

Hazi lokman, a rice trader from Karwan Bazar, said millers increased prices by up to Tk. 200 for each 50-kg sack regardless of the quality in the last few days. He also blamed the transportation system for the sudden hike in the price. A truck can carry 15 tonnes, but each vehicle is currently carrying 12 tonnes, causing supply shortfalls and raising the prices indirectly, he explained. “What can we do except hoping that the government would do something,” said the frustrated rice trader.

He also said that the wholesalers could only make marginal profits as the millers were bagging the hefty sum.

However, Anwar, a trader from Mohammadpur, the biggest wholesale hub of Dhaka city, told the Independent that the increasing paddy price was the main reason for the recent hike in rice prices. He also mentioned that the price would not come down until the arrival of new paddy next year. “The price of Miniket rice has increased as the stock of the rice harvested in summer has depleted,” said Anwar. Retailers said that they had to sell the rice at prices in line with the wholesale market value.

“I am selling Miniket rice at Tk. 58 a kg, which was around Tk 50-52 last week,” said Golam Mostafa, a grocer in the Mirpur-2 area.

“Since I had stockpiled several sacks of Nazirshail rice, I am now selling those at the earlier price,” he said with a hint of frustration in his voice.

“What else could I do? I have to maintain good relationships with my customers,” he added.

Noor Ali, a Mirpur-2 resident, said the sudden hike was taking a serious toll on his budget. He blamed the government, especially the commerce ministry, for the price hike, saying it failed to ensure regular monitoring of the commodity market.

Minister’s view

Amid increase in prices of food grains, Food minister Shadan Chandra Majumder sat with rice millers and wholesale traders at Khaddya Bhaban in the capital yesterday. Urging the millers and wholesalers not to indulge in immoral business practices, the minister told them to be more careful while running their businesses.

“I’ve learned from newspapers that rice prices have gone up slightly in the last few days. However, our reserves are still high. Like onion prices, there shouldn’t be any problem with rice prices.” he said.

“There has been an unnecessary scandal over onion price… it shouldn’t happen to rice,” he told reporters.  

He mentioned that OMS dealers refuse to buy rice from the government because of its lower price. “OMS dealers cannot sell rice at the rate of Tk 30 per kg.  So, they don’t want to take it.  It doesn’t mean we’ve bad quality rice in our warehouses,” the minister added.  Sadhan Chandra went on to say, “We also monitor the market.  We’ve seen the price of fine rice has marked a rise bit.”  

Mentioning that there will be no rice export, the minister said, “If we’ve to export it, then it’s the fine rice but it’s consumed by all. I, therefore, cannot approve it.”  

“According to our data, there is sufficient stock and supply of rice in the country. We told the traders and millers not to increase the price of rice,” he said.

The minister said since everybody wanted to eat fine rice rather than coarse rice, the price of the former was a little high. “It is true that farmers suffer when the price is less. And consumers complain when the price rises,” he added.

No let up on onion prices

Onion prices touched a record high of Tk. 240–250 a kg in Dhaka’s retail kitchen markets over the last week.

Even imported onions from Myanmar sold for Tk. 230–240 a kg.

The Trading Corporation of Bangladesh (TCB) continues its 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 increase the number of OMS points, TCB spokesperson Humayun Kabir replied in the negative.

“Onions are selling for Tk. 45 a kg at OMS points regularly. We have no plans to increase the OMS point. Besides, we have nothing to do with the high price, except selling onions at OMS points at lower prices,” he added.

The TCB started selling onions in Dhaka from September 7.

In Dhaka’s major markets, onions retailed at Tk. 240-250 a kg. Onions from Myanmar retailed at Tk. 230 a kg and those from China at Tk. 220.

Meanwhile, a petition seeking a probe to find out those involved in the skyrocketing prices of onion has been lodged at the High Court (HC).

“The petition is likely to be heard by the bench of Justice Md Nazrul Islam Talukder and Justice KM Hafizul Alam,” said lawyer Md Tanvir Ahmed, who filed the writ yesterday. The writ seeks an HC rule on why the failure of those responsible for controlling prices should not be declared illegal.

Garlic, ginger prices in retail market

Prices of ginger and garlic continued to increase in the city’s kitchen markets over the week.

Traders said that the prices went up in the city markets due to a supply shortage of local varieties of the items.

The price of garlic increased by Tk. 20-30 a kg over the week.

Abdul Momin,  a trader in Karwan Bazar, said garlic imported from China was selling for Tk. 150–160 a kg and its local variety for Tk. 90–110.

He, however, said low-quality garlic imported from India was selling for Tk. 100–120 per kg. Momin said the price of ginger increased by Tk. 10–20 a kg, with its local variety selling for Tk. 150–160  and imported variety for Tk. 180–200.

He also said the spiralling of garlic and ginger had nothing to do with the skyrocketing of onion prices.

He cited supply shortages as the reason behind the hike in garlic and ginger prices.

IK/SI

 

 

 

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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