Hilsa price remains high despite increased supply

FE Report | Friday, 23 August 2019

The price of Hilsa hasn't come down to the expected level despite a good production of the fish in the country and considerable rise in its supply in the city.

Meanwhile, prices of onion and sugar further increased last week raising woes of the consumers, especially the commonners.

Hilsa fish was selling at Tk 600-1,500 a kg based on its size at different markets in the capital on Thursday.

Though the price of Hilsa showed downward trend for sometime in the week before the previous week, it is still 15-25 per cent costlier than it was at the same period of last year, market insiders said.

Kamal Uddin (Pallab), a resident of Jafrabad, West Dhanmondi, bought a medium-sized Hilsa, weighing 800 grammes (gm), at Tk 750 at Rayer Bazar on Thursday.

He told the FE that the price of a similar-sized Hilsa fish was hardly Tk 550 in August last.

Rahman Ali, fish vendor at the market said both supply and prices of the silver fish increased in Mawa, Jatrabari and Shawarighat wholesales in the last seven days.

He said big traders had stored a large amount of Hilsa during Eid-ul-Azha early this month. They are now releasing the fish at high prices to nake a hefty profit.

Rahman was selling small-sized Hilsa (450-600 gm) at Tk 600-800 per kg, medium-sized Tk 800-1,000 and bigger-sized (950+ gm) Tk 1000-1500 a kg.

However, sources at Barisal, Barguna, Patuakhali, Chandpur, Chattogram and Cox's Bazar said fishermen were getting enough Hilsa both in the rivers and the Bay.

Secretary of Jatrabari Matsya Aratdar Bahumukhi Samabaya Samity Ltd. Md Abu Bakkar Siddique said the 65-day long ban on fishing in the Bay of Bengal between May and July created an 'adverse' impact on Hilsa trade.

He said July is the peak month for catching of Hilsa. But fishing was banned at that time which affected normal trade, he stated.

Both fishermen and fish traders incurred huge losses in June and July in the fishing zones, he said.

However, the traders were now recovering their losses by raising prices of the fish, he added.

The government imposed the ban on fishing in the Bay and major sanctuaries aiming to protect sea habitat, according to the department of fisheries.

The country produce 0.5 million tonnes of Hilsa annually which is 12 per cent of its total fish production.

Meanwhile, prices of onion, one of the main cooking ingredients, further increased last week as the local varieties was sold at Tk 55-65 and imported ones Tk 50-55 per kg on Thursday-29-42 per cent hike in a week, according to the state-run Trading Corporation of Bangladesh (TCB).

Sugar prices also showed an upward trend last week. Sugar prices witnessed a Tk 2.0-4.0 hike at per kg during the period. It was sold at Tk 56-65 a kg on the day.

Prices of ginger declined to some extent but still was selling at Tk 150-180 a kg.