MNA Business Desk: The price of ginger, an essential kitchen item, has shot up to Tk 300 from Tk 170 per kg within a week in the capital due to what traders said supply crunch.
Insiders said there is a huge stock of ginger at ports that could not be unloaded for lack of labourers and slow port authorities.
Talking to UNB, several retailers said they were selling each kg of imported ginger at Tk 280-320 against Tk 170-180 last week. Local ginger price also marked a sharp rise to Tk 260-270 per kg which was selling at Tk 140-160 per kg a week ago, they said.
Besides, imported garlic price has increased to Tk 200 per kg from Tk 160-170 in a week and that of local ones rose by Tk 20 per kg as it was sold at Tk 150 per kg on Friday, they added.
Importers said Bangladesh imports huge garlic, ginger and onions from different countries, including China, which is a major source of garlic and ginger but COVID-19 has affected the import.
Consumers alleged some unscrupulous traders have hiked the prices of commodities to make quick buck during Ramadan.
Abdur Rahim, a resident of Old Dhaka, said traders increase the prices of essentials on the eve of Ramadan every year.
“As the number of customers in Dhaka is relatively low now due to general holidays, the unscrupulous traders couldn’t hike the prices of many other essential items. But they’re trying to increase prices. The traders look for a chance always for lack of government monitoring,” he said.
According to Rahim, most of the shopkeepers do not show price list and sell essentials arbitrarily.
Almas Hossain, a shopkeeper at Najirabazar, said they were selling ginger at Tk 300 per kg while garlic at Tk 170 and onion at Tk 60.
“We sell all items based on the rate we purchase from wholesale markets, keeping our own small margins. We’ve nothing to do if wholesalers increase the prices,” he also said.
Manik Shaha, a wholesaler at Shayambazar, told UNB that they sold each kg of local onion at Tk 45 and imported one at Tk 40 on Friday.
“Onion prices are stable compared to that of last week. But garlic and ginger prices somewhat increased in a week due to supply crunch. Each kg of Chinese ginger was sold at Tk 240 while that of Burmese one at Tk 140 on Friday,” he added.
Bangladesh produces around 0.45 million tonnes of garlic every year against the demand for 0.6 million tonnes. The rest is imported mostly from China, according to official sources.
Talking to UNB, Ghulam Rahman, chairman of Consumer Association of Bangladesh (CAB), said some greedy businessmen are controlling the prices of essential commodities to make extra profits.
“The government should strengthen monitoring in various ways so that unscrupulous traders can’t take any advantage to raise the prices of essentials amid the coronavirus crisis,” he added.
The government has formed a special committee to keep the prices of daily essentials stable during the holy month of Ramadan, said Commerce secretary Md Jafar Uddin.
“The committee members will sit in meeting on every Sunday after monitoring the market during the holy month,” he said this at a press briefing at the conference room of Directorate of National Consumer Rights Protection (DNCRP) in the capital on March 14.
Jafar Uddin said a total of 28 teams will monitor the wholesale and retail markets across.