Now rice prices on the rise
The prices of fine rice have gone up in the capital's wholesale and retail markets, aggravating the suffering of the people from middle-income families who are already struggling to meet their household expenses due to spiraling prices of essentials, including edible oil and lentil.
The prices of the staple have increased by Tk 2 to Tk 3 per kg in the last four to five days. Fine Miniket rice was sold for Tk 68 to Tk 70 a kg at the city's Karwan Bazar yesterday, up from Tk 65 to Tk 66 a week ago. The price of Najirshal soared to Tk 80 a kg from Tk 75 to Tk 76.
The price of coarse rice has soared by Tk 2 per kg as well.
Korban Sardar, manager of Rony Rice Agency at Karwan Bazar, said they usually buy rice from Mohammadpur Krishi Market, but traders there have slowed down supplies.
"As an alternative, we contacted rice millers in Chapainawabganj where the price is also high. Yesterday, we sold each 50-kg sack of Atash rice for Tk 2,400 to retailers. Millers are now asking Tk 2,500 for the same amount of rice."
He said they will now have to sell the coarse rice to retailers at a higher price.
Traders blamed bulk buying of paddy by some major local companies and the flash floods in Sylhet and Sunamganj for the rise in prices. They, however, insisted that there was no shortage of the staple in the market now.
A week ago, the price of wheat, the second-most consumed grain in Bangladesh after rice, went up in the local market after India slapped a ban on the export of wheat.
People on fixed income are finding it difficult to run their families as the prices of almost all commodities have risen in the last five months.
"Can you name any essential commodity whose price has not soared? There is nothing for the people like us to buy at a reasonable price," said Nasir Ahmed, a resident of the capital's Adabar area.
Mohammad Firoz, a grocer at Mirpur-12, had to return from the Mirpur-11 kitchen market without buying all the items on his list.
"I went to the market with Tk 1,000 and sept the entire amount for buying chicken, soybean oil and vegetables. I could not buy eggs," he said.
Firoz said he expected that prices of commodities would come down after the Eid-ul-Fitr, but the prices rather went up.
According to traders, the demand for fine rice is comparatively higher than coarse rice in Dhaka.
The prices of essentials started to rise in November last year after the government hiked diesel price by about 23 percent, which led to the rise in transport costs. This had a domino effect on the market.
The war between Russia and Ukraine began in February this year, which caused another round of price hike, particularly of the imported items as the supply-chain was severely disrupted.
Mohammad Nizam Uddin, general secretary of Badamtali Rice Arot Owners' Association, said the wholesale price of Miniket and Najirshal rice increased by Tk 2 to Tk 3 per kg in the last four or five days.
He said flash floods in Sylhet division caused the latest rise in prices.
"Besides, there is a competition among some big companies for procuring rice. They buy rice in bulk, triggering the price hike."
Nizam said paddy now sells for Tk 1,100 to Tk 1,200 per mound. "Before the buying competition began, the price was Tk 600 to Tk 800 a mound."