Ginger prices shoot up
Traders in the capital have increased the prices of onion, garlic and ginger, cashing in on their growing demand ahead of Eid-ul-Azha.
In the last month, onion prices on average rose by 22 percent to Tk 28-38 from Tk 22-32 a kg, according to the Trading Corporation of Bangladesh, an organisation that monitors prices of essentials.
The prices of Chinese garlic shot up by 26.67 percent to Tk 150 from Tk 130 a kg a month ago. In the last week, its prices rose on average by Tk 25 a kg.
In the last month, ginger prices went up by 50 percent to Tk 60-90 from Tk 40-60 a kg.
Consumers demand close monitoring of markets, which will control price hikes before eid.
They alleged retailers take the advantage of the growing demand for essentials following eid and thereby make huge profits.
"The prices of garlic and suchlike commodities are too high for the ordinary people,'' said Md Rasidul Hassan, an employee of a non-governmental organisation, who shops at a roadside kitchen market in Azimpur.
He added, “I bought a kg of onion for Tk 35 yesterday. The same amount of onion cost Tk 26 a week ago.”
Reduced supplies by stockists and importers, higher transport costs and delay in releasing of perishable goods from the Chittagong port are blamed for the price spiral of spices.
Idris Ahmed, a wholesaler of onion and garlic at Shyambazar in Old Dhaka, said onion prices increased due to a fall in its import from India.
There was no price hike for local garlic due to its low demand, which was in marked contrast to the huge demand for its imported variety at the retail level, he added.
Most of the customers want to buy Chinese garlic which is bigger and takes less time to peel, he added.
Idris said transport costs have increased significantly. Besides, truck drivers prefer to carry sacrificial animals for higher pay.
Just a week ago, shipping such commodities by truck from a north-western district like Dinajpur to the capital used to cost Tk 15,000-17,000. Now, it costs twice as much, added Idris.
Ratan Saha, an importer and wholesaler, said prices of onion usually rise during the monsoon.
He claimed onion prices are now stable at the wholesale markets. "The rise is reasonable. The prices of onion go up ahead of the Eid-ul-Azha every year," he added.
Importers said they are having difficulty getting huge amounts of onion, garlic and ginger released from the Chittagong port due to malfunctioning of many cranes in the port.
They urged the government to take steps and repair the cranes as soon as possible to ensure smooth supply of the products.