Ginger and garlic became costlier last week further raising woes of the consumers as prices of the two main cooking ingredients and other essential items had increased significantly before the Eid and national budget.
The latest hike in ginger price took place after concerns expressed recently by the commerce secretary over rise in prices of the spice during the Ramadan month and Eid-ul-Fitr festival.
Fish also became pricier but another protein item - broiler chicken - witnessed a decline in price.
Ginger reached Tk 170-210 per kg at retail markets based on varieties on Thursday - a Tk 10-20 hike in a few days.
According to the state-run Trading Corporation of Bangladesh (TCB), ginger price showed 5.0-6.0 per cent rise in the last two days and 40-60 per cent hike in the last two-and-a-half-week.
Commerce Secretary Mafizul Islam on June 18 at a discussion meeting on prices of items of day-to-day necessities at the Secretariat admitted that ginger was selling at illogical prices.
"I myself bought ginger at Tk 160 (a kg) on Monday which was Tk 90 fifteen days back," he said.
"If this trend continues where would the price reach before the Eid-ul-Azha festival when demands for such spice increase significantly?", he told the traders, present at the meeting.
The traders said import costs have increased notably as production in the exporting countries like Myanmar, India and China increased amid fall in production there.
However, the commerce secretary told the traders to import ginger as per their requirement. They would possibly get help from the government.
Garlic prices increased to Tk 140-160 per kg (imported variety) and Tk 100-130 a kg (local) on Thursday - Tk 20 hike in one week.
Contacted, spice importer at Shyambazar wholesale in the city Narayan Chandra Saha said prices have increased but the gap between wholesale and retail is also getting wider which is hurting the consumers further.
"Imported ginger was sold at Tk 118-133 a kg at Shyambazar today (Thursday) which is being traded at Tk 180-210 a kg at retail markets," he mentioned.
He said the wholesale price increased recently only because of a surge in import costs.
"The import cost of Chinese ginger increased to US $1,300-1,310 per tonne from $ 980-1,000 in April-May," he noted.
He pointed out that local production also declined again this year which made them depended more on import.
Prices of most of the river fish varieties increased further by 8.0-12 per cent in a week which traders attributed to the two-month long ban on fishing in the sea by the government under its ocean ecology conservation programme.
Riverine hilsa was sold at Tk 750-1500 a kg based on size last week.
However, prices of broiler chicken witnessed a decline by Tk 10 a kg and were sold at Tk 135-140 a kg on the day.
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