The price rise of a few vegetables is taking a toll on consumers but prices of most items are largely stable and some have even become cheaper in this Ramadan.
Prices of green chillies, aubergines and onions rose 9.52 percent to 66 percent due to high demand.
Greengrocers hiked prices of green chillies by 66 percent to Tk 75 in a week.
“I have brought a kg of green chillies for Tk 45 last week. But this week I paid Tk 75,” said Baby Akter, who has four members in her family.
She shops at Palashi BUET Market in Lalbagh. She also bought a kg of aubergines for Tk 95, price of which rose 27 percent since last week.
The price of aubergines stood at Tk 110 a kg at Newmarket, according to data from the Department of Agriculture Marketing, a unit of the agriculture ministry.
“I will not buy cucumbers and high prices discouraged me from buying other items,” she said.
The lower and middle class suffer the most when prices go up, said Abu Sayed, who went to Mohammadpur Town Hall Market.
“I have two school-going kids. The unusual price hikes of kitchen items force me to cut the budget for education and health,” Sayed said.
“The demand for green chillies and aubergines rose during the Ramadan,” said Nasir Uddin, a trader at Shyambazar Krishi Panya Aarot Banik Samity.
The supply declined when the demand shout up abnormally, he said.
Onion prices went up by 9.52 percent to Tk 46 compared in a week, according to data compiled by The Daily Star during visits to several kitchen markets.
Onion prices rose in local market as India hiked the prices, said Helal Uddin, a retailer of Polashi kitchen market. Panic buying of consumers on the eve of Ramada also pushed prices up, he said.
At Hatirpool kitchen market, retailers were selling locally produced onions for Tk 44 a kg.
“We bought onion at high prices from wholesalers. We are not controlling the prices,” claimed Abdul Momin Chowdhury, a trader of Karwan Bazar.
Importers fix prices based on import cost, even though the government has imposed a ban on exports of aubergines, garlics, cucumbers, green chillies, lemons and coriander leaves until July 31 to ensure adequate supply during Ramadan. The move has certainly not worked as expected.
The prices of onions in Bangladeshi market rose as India hiked the minimum export price of onions by 67 percent to $500 per tonne, said Md Alamgir Hossain, a clearing and forwarding agent at Bhomra land port in Satkhira.
India increased onion price to discourage exports and improve local supplies as its prices surged in Indian domestic markets, he said.
After the increase, the minimum export price of onions translates to Rs 30 per kg, which is equivalent to Tk 39. Onion imports went up 76 percent in the first 10 months of the last fiscal year.
Bangladesh's annual demand for onions is 22 lakh tonnes. The country produced 13.58 lakh tonnes in the last season and the rest was imported mainly from India.
The price of gram fell by 15 percent to Tk 50 thanks to high imports, said Shafi Ahmed, former president of Bangladesh Pulse Traders Association and an importer of gram.
Retailers are selling a kg for Tk 53-56.
“Prices of gram fell as we imported 30,000 metric tonnes extra due to good political environment in the country,” Shafi said.
The prices of branded vegetable oil rose by Tk 1-2 to Tk 114 a kg in Ramadan, said Jamal Uddin, proprietor of Momotaz Traders at Palashi.
Some brands are controlling the prices, he said.
The prices of cumin seeds rose by 11 percent to Tk 500, while that of other spices like black pepper, raisin, cinnamon, cardamom, and green paper remained stable.
The wholesale price of one kg of Iranian cumin seeds is Tk 370, said Haji Hafez Enayet, a spices importer at Shyambazar.
The market is stable but the price may go up in Eid-ul-Azha, Enayet said.
The price of a kg of broiler chicken dropped by 16 percent to Tk 150 in a week.
The price may drop more as the demand for broiler chicken has declined, said Amin Uddin, a chicken trader at Palashi.