Consumers suffer as veg, ginger get costlier

FE Report | Published: April 19, 2019 10:17:50 | Updated: April 19, 2019 18:49:57

Focus Bangla file photo used for representation

Prices of most of the vegetables and ginger increased further at city retail markets last week compounding sufferings of the consumers, especially commoners.

Traders attributed the latest price hike of the essential food items to the seasonal storms, nor'westers of the current summer, which lashed different parts of the country, battering many vegetable fields.

On the other hand, market observers said a big price gap among farm, city wholesale and retail levels was the main cause of further price hike of the vegetables and the cooking ingredient.

However, prices of some species of fish witnessed a slight decline but most of other day-to-day necessity items remained static maintaining their previous high last week, according to kitchen market sources.

While visiting some kitchen markets in the capital on Thursday, the FE correspondent found that 16 out of 20 key vegetables increased by Tk 5.0-10 per kilogram (kg) in the last seven days.

Even, the prices of papaya, considered one of the cheapest vegetables in the country untill recently, rose substantially in the week. Papaya was sold at Tk 50 a kg yesterday.

Brinjal, pointed gourd, okra, snake gourd, radish, country bean and cucumber were sold at Tk 50-65 a kg; bottle gourd at Tk 50-100 per piece, based on its size, and ash gourd Tk 50-70 a piece.

Only carrot, pumpkin and low quality tomato were selling below Tk 50 per kg on the day at retail markets.

One hali (four pieces) of lemon and green banana (kachakola) were selling at Tk 25-40 while the most of leafy at Tk 10-30 a bunch.

Asad Uddin, a vegetable wholesaler at Sadeq Khan Agricultural Market of Rayer Bazar told the FE that prices of vegetables are much higher amid crop losses in many places for nor'wester.

He said: "We were sourcing pointed gourd at Tk 46-48 a kg for one week which should be below Tk 30 a kg this time."

He said the vegetable market is showing almost the same trend it did in the last summer when prices of the items were higher.

Contacted, Director General of Department of Agricultural Marketing (DAM) Dr Nazmanara Khanum told the FE that apart from the crop loss, big profit margin of the middlemen, especially in big cities, helped shoot up the prices further.

He said one kg bitter gourd was selling at Tk 32 (in Bogra) to Tk 34 (in Narail) which was sold to the buyers at Tk 48-50 at Karwan Bazar in the city and finally, it went to the hands of consumers at Tk 80-90 a kg.

The huge price gap is causing immense suffering to the consumers, he said.

"We hang the list of logical prices of agro produces everyday in front of city market places but no one follows it," he noted.

The retail price of pointed gourd was fixed at Tk 48 (maximum) a kg for Thursday but traded at Tk 60-Tk 70 a kg, he pointed out.

The commerce ministry and other concerned agencies should enhance market monitoring in order to give the consumers a bit of relief, he said.

Prices of ginger, one of the main cooking ingredients, increased to Tk 120-150 a kg from Tk 90-140 a kg seven days back.



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