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22 February, 2020 08:39:09 AM
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No respite for buyers as vegetable prices continue to rise

Staff Reporter, Dhaka
No respite for buyers as vegetable prices continue to rise
A vendor sells vegetables to customers at a shop at Rai Saheb Bazar in the capital yesterday. Focus Bangla Photo

Prices of vegetables have surged in the past week, burning a hole in the pockets of consumers.

The prices increased by Tk. 5–15 per kg in the last couple of days amid a declining supply of winter crops, according to traders. Market observers said that a high price gap between farm-level and city retail prices led to the hike, which is adding to the woes of consumers, especially the low-income group, who have already been hit by the higher prices of various essential items.

Visits to several retail markets in the city, including Karwan Bazar, yesterday revealed that early summer vegetables were still expensive, while the prices of winter vegetables remained unchanged over the week. Vegetables like pointed gourds, pumpkins, ridge gourds, cabbages, cauliflowers, and bitter gourds were subject to hikes. They sold for Tk. 40–60 per kg/apiece.

Sellers were seen demanding Tk. 50 per kg of seasonal tomatoes. Cabbages and cauliflowers were being sold at Tk. 35–45 per piece, eggplants at Tk. 80 per kg, and beans at Tk. 40–50 per kg.   Bitter gourds and gourds commanded higher prices yesterday. Fresh supplies of bitter gourds were being sold for Tk. 80–120 per kg, while gourds went for Tk. 80–100 apiece depending on their size.

Leafy vegetables were selling for Tk. 15–25 per bunch. The going rate for a bunch of spinach was Tk. 15, while a bunch of bottle gourd leaves went for Tk. 20–30. 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.  The prices of snake gourds, eddo, and colocasia stems remained static at their previous high of Tk. 50–60 per kg.

The supply of early summer vegetables has been increasing, but their prices are yet to decline. Traders said the prices of these vegetables will fall over the next couple of weeks until the early summer crops fully hit the market. Abul Kashem, a Karwan Bazar-based trader, said the supply of winter vegetables had started declining from hubs like Dhaka (Dhamrai, Savar, Dohar, Nawabganj, Keraniganj), Narsingdi, Manikganj, Mymensingh, Comilla, and Jessore.

Tohidul Alam, a consumer who shops at Karwan Bazar, said the prices of winter vegetables were now higher than last year, making them too costly for middle-class families.  Statistics show a fivefold increase in vegetable production over the past 40 years. Bangladesh ranks third in global vegetable production, behind China and India.  Although onion prices showed a slight decline over the past week, they were still nearly at the previous high of Tk. 90–110 per kg for the local varieties.  Locally stocked onions were retailing at Tk. 90–100 per kg yesterday, while newly harvested seed onions—the Murikata variety—were going for Tk. 120–140 per kg.

The prices of imported onions remained more or less static at Tk. 70–130 per kg, with the rates varying based on the quality. The state-run Trading Corporation of Bangladesh (TCB) noted a 14.29 per cent decline, on average, 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. Garlic prices continued their upward movement. Yesterday, garlic was retailing at Tk. 170–220 per kg, up from Tk. 130–170 per kg two weeks back.

The TCB noted that garlic prices had increased to Tk. 160–220 per kg from Tk. 140–160 two weeks ago. Imported Chinese varieties were selling at Tk. 180–220 per kg, showing a 45 per cent hike over two weeks. The prices of sugar remained high, with both refined sugar and locally produced sugar selling for Tk. 70 per kg.  The price of broiler chicken decreased by Tk. 10 per kg over the week. The item was retailing at Tk. 115–125 per kg in the city markets yesterday. Locally bred chicken was going for Tk. 450 per kg.  The price of beef yesterday was Tk. 550–570 per kg, while mutton went for Tk. 750–800 per kg.  A decrease was observed in farm egg prices. The going rate was Tk. 90–100 per dozen, down from Tk. 100–110 a month ago.

BK

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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.

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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