a year ago

Prices rise capriciously above commoners' reach

Most necessaries cost higher, many drop protein

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Most necessaries cost higher and many drop protein from menu as prices rise capriciously above commoners' reach, market surveys show amid steep inflation at home.

Consumers see little respite from the heated kitchen market as most of the key essentials maintained their uptrend last week, aggravating commoner woes.

While the prices of most key essentials remained almost beyond the purchasing power of low-and limited-income people, farm chickens, eggs, some vegetables, lemons and chilies became pricier further in a week, according to market sources.

Market observers predict that the prices might further increase ahead of Ramadan unless necessary steps are taken by authorities concerned to head off the mad bull.

Price of broiler chickens edged up further to Tk 230 a kg, marking a Tk 10-15-a-kg further hike and Tk 50-a-kg rise in two weeks and Tk 70-a-kg increase in three weeks, according to the Trading Corporation of Bangladesh (TCB) and city kitchen markets.

Meanwhile, egg prices surged to Tk 150-155 a dozen in a further rise by Tk 10.

Pakistani or Sonali chicken price shot up to Tk 350-360 a kg from maximum Tk 320 a kg while indigenous chickens climbed beyond the reach of many with a price range of Tk 600-650 a kilogram on the last weekday, Thursday.

Vegetables like bitter gourd, long-yard bean, clocasia stem, snake gourd, pointed gourd were available in the markets but prices reached a record high, said Reaz Hossain, a vendor at West Dhanmondi.

"Bitter-gourd price jumped to Tk 160 a kg at wholesales and we are retailing it at Tk 180- 200 kg," he said.

Meanwhile, long-yard bean was retailed at Tk 120-130, clocasia stem Tk 80-100 and brinjal Tk 60-90 a kg on the day.

Lemon price shot up to Tk 40-70 for four pieces which was Tk 30-50 earlier, according to vendors.

Most of other commodities, however, maintained their previous high prices.

Fahim Hossain, a poultry-farm owner at Gheor in Manikganj, said price of day-old chicks jumped to Tk 45-50 apiece while feed prices to Tk 65-70 a kg.

He said production of both chickens and eggs also declined by a half amid random load shedding in the region.

He said production cost of broiler chickens skyrocketed to Tk 155 a kg and eggs to Tk 120 a dozen in recent weeks.

"We are selling broiler at Tk 165 a kg and egg at Tk 1000 per 100 pieces now," he said.

Imran Hossain Master, a Karwan Bazar-based vegetable trader, said bitter gourd and long-yard bean prices were much higher in Bogura, Cumilla, Narsingdi and Jashore amid an off- season ambiance there.

He said only a few traders are bringing bitter gourds or long-yard bean following high investments needed for farming these days.

But winter vegetables are still cheaper which could help consumers to get some relief, he said.

Consumers Association of Bangladesh (CAB) Vice-president SM Nazer Hossain said prices of broiler chickens, cultured fishes, and farm eggs increased this month to a record level, pinching hurt the commoners.

"Traders are now in a hurry to raise prices of essentials long before the month of Ramadan for loose monitoring," the consumer-rights campaigner says about the agflation.

He suggests strict monitoring by the authorities to reverse the trend and to bring prices of key essentials within the reach of millions of poor people.

Farm experts find another reason for price hike of agricultural produce-jacked-up prices of inputs, feeds and medicines in the commercialized chain of farming dominated by big businesses.

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