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After onion, ginger prices also go up

Govt assurance not enough to stabilise spice market


FE Report | Published: September 19, 2019 10:48:28 | Updated: September 22, 2019 10:42:38


— Focus Bangla file photo

After onion, prices of ginger climbed by Tk 20 a kg at the retail market in the city on Wednesday.

Different varieties of the spice were selling at Tk 160-Tk 190 a kg in the capital, up from Tk 140-Tk 170 a kg.

Onion prices were still pricier, despite the government's assurance of bringing it down within 24 hours.

The key spice was traded at its previous high of Tk 70-Tk 80 a kg at the retail level.

The government on Tuesday said its measures alongside adequate market supplies would help drive down onion prices locally within 24 hours.

Bangladesh Tariff Commission (BTC) member Shah Md Abu Raihan Alberuni made the comments at a meeting organised by the commerce ministry, where officials, traders and policy makers were present.

Meanwhile, another meeting with the importers was held on the day at the ministry, chaired by commerce secretary Dr Md Jafar Uddin.

The meeting discussed the ways of bringing down prices of the spice so that commoners can afford it.

The secretary said such meetings will be held on a regular basis until the onion market becomes stable, said a senior official at the commerce ministry.

Also, prices of ginger marked a rise at retails on the day.

Jewel Rana, a grocer at Sankar in West Dhanmondi, said prices of ginger have increased at the wholesale market in the last two days.

"I bought ginger at Tk 170 a kg from Rayer Bazar-Beribadh wholesale on Tuesday evening, which was Tk 145 a kg earlier," he said.

"I'm selling at Tk 190 a kg," he said. The price differed from retail to wholesale.

Proprietor of Nabin Traders at Shyambazar Narayan Chandra Saha said prices of ginger did not rise at Shyambazar on the day, the wholesale hub.

He said they sold imported Chinese ginger at Tk 140-145 a kg in the morning.

He said the gap between wholesale and retail markets is much higher, which causes sufferings to consumers.

Asked, he said ginger and garlic prices are higher this year amid crop loss in exporting countries like China and India.

He said the import cost of Chinese ginger is now a minimum $1,370 a tonne.

He said domestic production also fell in Rangpur and Chittagong Hill Tracts this year, which pushed up prices.

He said import now makes up more than 60 per cent of the demand.

According to Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics and Commerce Ministry, the country produces 0.2 million tonnes and imports over 0.45 million tonnes of ginger annually.

Asked about onion, Mr Saha said price of onion has remained static at Shyambazar for the last 24 four hours.

He said trading has slowed as grocers, retailers, small scale traders are buying the spice in low volume.

"Everyone is taking a wait and see policy following the government's initiatives," he said.

He said imported onion was selling at Tk 55-58 and local variety at Tk 60-Tk64 a kg based on quality at the wholesale.

He said prices of imported onion might decline if produce from Myanmar enters Dhaka by tomorrow (Friday).

The onion market has experienced volatility during the last five days, with traders attributing it to the Indian government's decision on raising the minimum export price (MEP) to $850 a tonne from earlier $300.

Onion prices have increased by 30-35 per cent in the last five days in Bangladesh, according to the Trading Corporation of Bangladesh (TCB).

However, the open market sale (OMS) of onion by the TCB continued for the second day in five different places in the city.

Some five tonnes of onion were made available for sale at Tk 45 a kg where every person was allowed to buy the maximum 2.0 kg.

The OMS trucks were available at Ideal School in Motijheel, National Press Club, Mirpur Stadium (Gate-4), Maddhyo-Badda and Abdullahpur in the city.

In Chittagong, price of onion has not stabilised in the retail market yet.

Despite the directives from the ministry to sell the onion by TCB and import from Myanmar, the retail price is higher.

Traders said the price of per KG onion is Tk 58 to 65 while the price is taka 50-52 in the wholesale markets of Khatongonj, Chaktai and Asadganj in the port city.

The TCB has not started selling the onion in the port city yet, for which price remains higher.

Importers at Khatongonj said since the import cost of a kg India onion is Tk 50-52, they are importing from Myanmar instead. Import costs from Myanmar range from Tk 40 to Tk 42 a kg.

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