The Financial Express

Onion price eases, but other essentials still dear

| Updated: October 16, 2021 12:01:59

Onion price eases, but other essentials still dear

Onion price eases somewhat following duty cuts though prices of most other essentials remained high in markets, worsening woes of the limited-income group of people.

Observers say piecemeal market interventions made little impact so far on general price rises.

Onion and sugar prices bucked up abnormally and the government just cut regulatory duty on the spice item by 10 per cent to 20 per cent and waived 5.0-per cent customs duty on import of the sweetener to tame their tantrums.

A city market survey on Friday showed the fiscal measure had yet to make tangible impact on the market.

In view of the situation, some economists and analysts are making a strong plea for revival of rationing through locality-based fair-price shops, instead of truck sale, for the period until prices come down to normal from the crunch created by the coronavirus pandemic here and the world over.

Commodities like rice, sugar, onions, chickens, lentils, edible oils and most of the vegetables, excepting potatoes (Tk 25 a kg), were trading at high rates at retail levels in the capital city, Dhaka.

Customers, particularly in lower-and middle-income bracket, vented frustrations being compelled to purchase essential commodities at higher prices within their limited incomes.

They renewed their callings to the government for controlling the high prices of daily necessaries by intensifying the ongoing market- monitoring drives and dismantling what they perceive as 'syndicate' in the interest of the consumers.

"We have been facing difficulties due to high commodity prices at the markets. We could not meet our demand within our limited income due to the existing price hike. If this trend (high price) goes on, then it would not be possible for us to lead a decent life," Md Abul Kalam Azad, a private service-holder, told the FE correspondent at city's Fakirerpool Kitchen market on the day.

Retailers cited short supply coupled with lower imports as reasons for price hike of essential commodities like onion at the markets.

They, however, hoped that the prices of onions and other essential commodities would become normal once there was sufficient supply of those in the markets soon.

Visiting different kitchen markets, including Jatrabarai, Shantinagar and Kaptan Bazar in the city the FE correspondent saw a kilogramme (kg) of local variety of onions still selling between Tk 70 and Tk 75 on following a little fall by Tk 5.00 per kg. The rates were Tk 40 to Tk 45 a couple of weeks back.

Retailers said that as they had purchased onion at a high price (Tk 65 a kg from wholesalers) so they were selling it at Tk 70 per kg, making only a minimal profit.

They attributed short supply, less import from neighbouring countries, especially India, as the main reason for the present high prices of onions in the local markets.

Coarse variety of rice, depending on the quality, was selling between Tk 50 and Tk 55 a kg while fine varieties like najirshaial and minicate trading from Tk 65 to Tk 70.

Sugar sold at Tk 90 a kg on the retail market, which was traded between Tk 65 and Tk 70 a kg a couple of weeks back.

A kg of lentil of local variety sold between Tk 120 and Tk 125 while imported ones ranged from Tk 90 to Tk 110 a kg.

A kg of broiler chickens was selling between Tk 180 and Tk 190 while Sonali variety ranged from Tk 320 to Tk 330 a kg on the day.

Bottled soyabean oil containing two (2.0) litres of different brands was trading from Tk 300 to Tk 310 on the day.

Among green vegetables, tomato was selling between Tk 100 and Tk 120 a kg while carrot from Tk 100 to Tk 120, green papaya from Tk 30 to Tk 40, brinjal from Tk 40 to Tk 50, lady's finger ranged from Tk 50 to Tk 60 and green chili from Tk 180 to Tk 200 a kg respectively.

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