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4 April, 2020 01:20:24 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 4 April, 2020 12:34:50 PM
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Daily essentials see price hikes amid COVID-19 lockdown

Staff Reporter, Dhaka
Daily essentials see price hikes amid COVID-19 lockdown
A buyer wearing a face mask and gloves on his hands, in a bid to save himself from contracting novel coronavirus, pays a fish trader at Kaptanbazar in the capital yesterday. Focus Bangla Photo

The prices of essential commodities like edible oil, rice, and flour have surged this week, adding to buyers’ woes amid the COVID-19 crisis, which saw its first case in Bangladesh on March 7. Traders explain that supply disruptions of some kitchen items have led to their scarcity in the capital’s kitchen markets during the 17-day holiday ordered by the government. The holiday period, which was declared as a measure to safeguard against COVID-19, is expected to end on April 11.

The government will be launching a special open market sale (OMS) of coarse rice at the rate of Tk 10 per kg across all city corporation areas. Through this exercise, the government aims to ensure food for the poor during the nationwide shutdown. OMS rice will be available on April 5 and sold only to the poor. Lists will be prepared with the help of local councillors to ensure that only the needy can purchase the rice at this critical time.

The prices of rice, pulses, flour, loose edible oil, and some spices increased last week, partly due to panic buying. But the prices of onions, ginger, garlic, and potatoes have declined. A visit to the Shantinagar kitchen market in the capital revealed that while the prices of daily commodities are within the reach of most people, daily-wage labourers are struggling.

The price of loose soya bean oil shot up to Tk 97–98 per litre from Tk 92–94 just a week back. Loose coarse flour (atta) retailed at Tk 34–36 per kg, up from Tk 29–30 seven days ago. The state-run Trading Corporation of Bangladesh (TCB) recorded an 8 to 10 per cent hike in the price of loose edible oil over the past week. The price of loose flour increased by 9 per cent hike over the period.

Coarse varieties of rice retailed at Tk 38–50 per kg yesterday, with the medium-coarse varieties going for Tk 52–55 and fine-quality rice selling at Tk 60–70.

Prices of the staple have risen by 10 to 31 per cent over the last one week, according to TCB data.  The current price of rice is at a two-year high. While the prices of broiler chicken, farm eggs, and vegetables declined last week, the prices of dry red chillies soared. Imported red chillies were sold at Tk 320–360 per kg, up from last week’s price of Tk 250–280.

The price of onions has dipped significantly. At wholesale markets, local onions sold for Tk 35–45 a kg, while the Myanmar variety went for Tk 45–50, Chinese onions Tk 45–50, Pakistani onions Tk 40–50, and the Egyptian variety Tk 55–60.

Also in decline is the price of garlic. It dropped by Tk 20–30 per kg over the last two days owing to increased supply of the local variety in the markets. Imported garlic was selling for Tk 120–130 a kg yesterday, down from the earlier range of Tk 130–150, while local varieties were going for Tk 80–100 per kg. Vegetable prices have also declined. The prices of gourd, bitter gourd, cucumber, and beans are now stable.

A couple of weeks ago, cucumbers had sold for Tk 30–35 per kg. Their price has now reduced to Tk 20–25 per kg. Papaya was selling at Tk 30–40 per kg and beans at Tk 30–40 per kg yesterday. Carrots were selling for Tk 20–30 per kg, down from Tk 30–40 last week. The prices of radishes and raw chilies were also on the lower side. Leafy vegetables also saw a fall in their prices and were mostly selling for Tk 15–20 per bunch. Spinach was retailing at Tk 10 per bunch, while bottle gourd leaves went for Tk 20–30.


IK

 

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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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