Red chillies (dry chillies) have become hotter with prices increased significantly by 80-90 per cent in last one and a half weeks.
A kilogram (kg) of dried red chilli was sold at Tk 380-Tk 450 in the retail markets in Dhaka from previous prices of Tk 200-Tk 250.
Traders said surge in import costs resulted in such tectonic rise in prices.
Belal Hossain Litu, a grocer at Akhra Mandir area at Rayer Bazar, told the FE that prices of red chilli had been increasing for last two weeks almost everyday.
"I bought five kgs of imported red chilli from Moulovibazar wholesale market at Tk 1,750 on Monday which was Tk 1,000 in the first week of January," he said.
Haji Md Enayetullah, president of Bangladesh Spice Wholesalers Association, said prices of red chilli increased notably in the key exporting country India amid crop losses in its several states.
He said Bangladesh imports 60 per cent of its demand for red chilli mainly from India.
Red chilli is retailing at Rs 200-240 (Tk 250-Tk 270) a kg in different Indian states-- even in the best growing Andhra Pradesh and Telengana.
He said: "Our import cost for red chilli surpassed Tk 300 a kg in December. Local red chilli prices also soared to Tk 320-330 a kg now".
He said demand for red chilli is 9,000-10,000 tonnes annually of which traders import 5,500- 6,000 tonnes.
Belayet Hossain, a Moulovibazar-based trader, said different companies-- who sell packet chilli powder-- started buying a huge quantity of the spice from August last following a surge in prices in India which also made an impact on the local market.
However, Indian Express-- a daily of India-- reported that red chilli prices made a record high at Warangal district in Telangana state as new crop arrived.
Best quality red chilli namely 'Teja' variety was sold at Rs 185 a kg at the Enumamula agriculture market at Warangal district in Telangana, which is one of the biggest markets in the entire sub-continent.
Bangladesh produces 0.14-0.145 million tonnes of green chilli across the year and has a surplus output, said TM Rashed Khan, assistant director of the Department of Agricultural Marketing (DAM).
"But farmers are not interested in making the chilli dry as it consumes more time and needs uninterrupted sunlight," he said.
"As local farmers are reluctant about making red chilli, demand is met through import," he said.
He said farmers should be incentivised to raise production locally which could help avoid import of red chilli worth Tk 2.0 billion annually.
However, green chilli prices were almost static at Tk 90-110 a kg in the city retail markets.
© 2017 - All Rights with The Financial Express