Rice prices continued to rise in local markets, as leading consumer goods companies raised prices by maximum Tk 6.0-11 a kg, according to market sources.
Onion and some vegetables also followed the price- hike trend, raising sufferings of consumers further.
Retail price of common non-branded rice witnessed a hike by Tk 2.0-4.0 a kg, as coarse rice was sold at Tk 52-54 a kg, medium Tk 60-64 a kg and finer varieties at Tk 68-80 a kg.
Price of a five-kg pack of Pran RFL's Najirshail rice increased to Tk 480 (Tk 96 a kg), which was maximum Tk 89 a kg a week back.
BRAC's Aarong branded Miniket price hit the highest of Tk 91 a kg (Tk 455 per five-kg pack), whose previous MRP was Tk 82 a kg, according to Chaldal.com.
Chaldal.com, one of the leading online shopping platforms, also markets rice of its own brand.
Its premium Najirshail rice price witnessed the highest Tk 10.76 a kg hike in last two weeks, and was selling at Tk 2,019 per 25-kg pack, according to its website.
ACI, TK, Bangladesh Edible Oil Limited (BEOL) and other consumer goods companies were selling their Miniket and Najirhsial at much higher rates than those of the mainstream markets - from Tk 82 to Tk 90 a kg, according to groceries.
Contacted, Pran-RFL marketing director Kamruzzaman Kamal said he could comment after verifying some information.
He told the FE their production cost of the Nazirshail variety was Tk 86 a kg. The retail margin, dealer margin and marketing costs are added to it. They make a maximum of 8.0 per cent profit.
The FE was also trying to reach officials of Chaldal.com, but could not get any comment despite repeated efforts.
Meanwhile, brinjal price hit maximum Tk 100 a kg, tomato Tk 160 a kg and chilli Tk 180 a kg on Friday, which traders attributed to the ongoing flood in many vegetable hubs.
Onion prices started increasing, as its local variety rose to Tk 45-55 a kg and imported ones to Tk 55-60 a kg, marking Tk 5.0-10 a kg hike in a week.
Consumers Association of Bangladesh (CAB) secretary Humayun Kabir Bhuiyan said the government has a loose control over the leading consumer goods companies, which is the key reason behind the consumers' sufferings.
He said edible oil, wheat flour and sugar markets have become an oligopoly of the companies since decades back, and now rice market, especially its finer segment, has also been dominated by such companies.
He opined that price of non-aromatic rice at Tk 90-96 a kg could only be justified, when paddy price shot up to Tk 2,300-2,500 a maund.
In the recent two rice cropping seasons - last Aman and ongoing Boro - the best quality non-aromatic paddy prices never crossed Tk 1,800 a maund.
The government should strictly monitor the market. Apart from the traditional millers and traders, new big market players should be brought under strict vigilance to prevent any future crisis in the rice market, he added.