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Monday, August 24, 2015, Bhadra 9, 1422 BS, Zilqad 8, 1436 Hijr

Prices of essentials go sky-high
Mizanur Rahman
Published :Monday, 24 August, 2015,  Time : 12:00 AM  View Count : 15
Prices of most of the vegetables and spices have increased during the last one week largely due to incessant rains and the rising cost of transportations, traders said.
Prices of some kitchen commodities, especially onion and green chili is increasing at an alarming rate in the capital.  Traders said that the prices of green chilli increased by Tk 100 a kg while onion price increased by Tk 20 per kg in last one week.
Likewise, the prices of potato, garlic, bitter gourd, lady's finger, eggplant, papaya, cucumber, lentils, ginger and other vegetables have increased to a great extent.
Bangladesh Tariff Commission (BTC) sources said there is average demand for 22 lakh tonnes of onion per year across the country. Of the total amount 16 lakh tonnes are produced in the local markets and the rest of 6 lakh tonnes are imported from Indian market.  
The Commerce Ministry sources said, Indian government has increased onion prices on export. The export price was US $425 per tonne a week ago. But now it is US $700 per tonne.
According to the Indian leading English Daily Times of India, traders and stockists seem to be making a killing as onion prices have soared across India in the past 2-3 weeks.
The staple kitchen item was selling at around Indian Rupee (Rs) 80 per kg in most markets in Delhi, as a substantial jump in prices was reported from Delhi. Prices of pulses have also gone up considerably in the past three weeks.
Now there are fears whether the retail price of onion may reach Rs 100 a kg or even higher as supply remained deficient.
Meanwhile, sources in the consumer affairs department said that so far only three states - Odisha, Telangana and West Bengal - have notified stock limits for traders to store onion at any given point of time. It`s far more critical in the case of major onion producing states where traders are stocking the key kitchen item since there is no restriction on storage.
"The price has gone up substantially after there was news that the first effort to import 5,000 tonnes of onion did not happen. So, traders are holding up their stocks for prices to go up further," said a government official.
Visiting different kitchen markets at Rayer Bazar, Segun Bagicha, Mohammadpur, Hatirpul, New Market, Shantinagar and Badda on Sunday, it was observed that local and imported onion was selling at Tk 85 and Tk 80 per kg respectively. In the previous week, those spices were sold at Tk 60 and Tk 65 per kg respectively.
On the other hand, green chili was selling at Tk 200 to Tk 220 per kg at the city's kitchen markets on Saturday while it was sold at Tk 100 to Tk 120 a kg in the previous week.
When asked about high price of onion and green chili, a retailer of city's Shantinagar told Daily Observer that the prices of the essentials jumped due to excessive demand against inadequate supply in the city as the transportation of the items was hampered due to heavy downpour across the country.
Md Redwanul Hoque, vice-president of Rayer Bazar Babosayee Samity, an association of wholesalers in the city, said that rain damaged chilli and vegetables on vast tracts of cropland in Rajshahi, Rangpur, Dinajpur, Bogra, Pabna, Kushtia, Narsingdi, Kishoreganj, Netrakona and Chittagong, resulting in the price hikes. Chilli was selling at Tk 200-220 per kg for last two days at the district level, he said.

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