Chicken price unthinkable
With Ramadan less than a week away, the high prices of chicken and meat are not likely to come down anytime soon.
Yesterday, broiler chicken was sold for Tk 270 a kg in the capital, up from Tk 160 one and a half months ago.
"I have never seen broiler chicken being sold at such a high price. I'm worried that the price may cross the Tk 300-mark in Ramadan," said Shamim Alam, a banker, at the capital's Hatirpool kitchen market.
A trader charged Shamim Tk 510 for a broiler chicken.
"My daughter loves to eat chicken. Otherwise, I would have bought beef," Shamim told the trader.
Prices of all breeds of chicken started going up in the capital one and a half months ago.
Yesterday, the Sonalika breed was sold for Tk 370 per kg and local breed Tk 630 per kg, up from Tk 270 and Tk 500 one and a half months back, according to the market analysis of Dhaka Metropolitan Police.
Halima, a resident of Bhashantek slum, went to the kitchen market in the slum yesterday to buy chicken but returned home with chicken liver, head, neck, and feet which she bought at Tk 120 per kg.
The woman, who bought chicken a month ago, said, "I could not even think of such a high price of chicken."
Reajul Huq, director (administration) of the Department of Livestock Services, blamed high prices of chicks and feed and rise in demand for the price hike.
"The department cannot intervene in the market as it is an independent business," he told The Daily Star.
Moshiur Rahman, an accountant at a private firm, buys groceries every Friday.
"We live in a large joint family. We need at least eight chickens of local breed every week. The current price of eight chickens is about Tk 5,200. With this amount, I could buy about 7.5kg beef," he told this newspaper, adding that his family was switching from chicken to red meat.
Like him, many others are now switching from chicken to beef. Taking it as an opportunity, meat traders have increased the beef price by Tk 50 to Tk 750 per kg.
The price of mutton has also gone up to Tk 1,100 per kg from Tk 950 in the last one and a half months.
Sumoon Howlader, president of Bangladesh Poultry Association, said taking all related production and supply costs into consideration, the retail price of broiler chicken should not be more than Tk 220 per kg.
"A syndicate of some private companies is controlling the chicken market. It is also involved in price manipulation," he alleged.
Meanwhile, Agriculture Minister Muhammad Abdur Razzaque yesterday hinted that the prices of meat may remain high for several more months.
"The price of poultry won't come down soon. We will have to wait for at least six to seven months to buy chicken at lower prices," he said at a programme in the capital.