Dhaka,  Monday
15 July 2024

High onion, garlic, ginger prices add to Eid woes

Sanjay Adhikari Rony, Dhaka

Published: 08:05, 14 June 2024

High onion, garlic, ginger prices add to Eid woes

Photo: Messenger

Ahead of Eid ul Adha, the commodity market has become increasingly volatile, with notable price increases observed in three key commodities: onion, garlic, and ginger. Over the past week, the price of local onion in the capital markets has risen to Tk 100 per kg, up from Tk 80 a week ago and Tk 60 a month ago.

Similarly, garlic prices have surged by Tk 20 per kg within the last week, now standing at Tk 250. However, the most significant price hike has been seen in ginger, which has soared by Tk 80 per kg to reach Tk 320 to Tk 330, compared to Tk 240-250 just a week earlier.

Concerned sources have indicated that demand for these essential commodities typically spikes around Eid ul Adha. During this period, certain unscrupulous traders often exploit the market through syndicates to artificially inflate prices. Compared to the previous year, the prices of all spices are notably higher this Eid season, reflecting the ongoing price escalation as the holiday approaches.

In such a situation, common people are struggling to go to the market to buy the necessary spices for Eid al-Adha. In particular, the lower and lower middle classes have been hit hard by rising prices of daily commodities.

On Thursday, it was observed that onions were being sold at Tk 90 per kg in Mohammadpur, Moghbazar, and Karwan Bazar in the capital. In some shops, larger onions were being sold at Tk 100 per kg. The supply of imported onions in the market was very limited, with only a few stores having small quantities available.

Imported onions were being sold at Tk 100 to Tk 110 per kg in these markets. In some areas, onions were available from vendors at Tk 85-90 per kg, although these were smaller in size and of lower quality.

Mortazul Islam, an onion seller in Karwan Bazar, said that there is an increased demand for onions in the market ahead of Eid ul Adha. That's why the wholesale price is increasing by Tk 2-3 every day. It is not possible to say where this price will go on Friday-Saturday.

Many sellers indicated that there is a reduced opportunity to import onions from India. This is because India has set the minimum export price of onions at $550 per ton. When factoring in customs duty and other costs, it amounts to approximately Tk 70 per kg to bring the onions into Bangladesh. Consequently, importing onions from India has become unfeasible, leading to a market that relies solely on locally produced onions.

Meanwhile, the price of ginger and garlic has also increased along with onion in the market. A seller named Ekramul said that the price is increasing due to shortage of ginger in the wholesale market. However, this price increase is unusual. Within a few days, it has increased to about Tk 70-80 per kg. Compared to that, the price of garlic is still somewhat stable. Although this product is already stuck at a high price.

According to the market price information of the government organisation Trading Corporation of Bangladesh (TCB), the price of onion in the country has increased by 64 percent and the price of garlic by 62 percent over the last one year. However, ginger prices were also high at this time last year. Due to which the price of this product has increased by 23 percent.

Aminul Islam, a seller of Mohammadpur, said that the price of onion and garlic increases every year before Eid ul Adha. However, the price of these products is now almost three times as compared to any normal time. He also said that if the supply is not normal, the price of onion may increase in the next few days.

Meanwhile, the opportunity to import onions from India has decreased. Importer Abdul Majed told The Daily Messenger that onion prices are currently very high in India as well. Over the past two weeks, onion prices in India have risen by 30 to 50 percent. The increase in demand before Eid has also contributed to the rising prices domestically. Consequently, it is not feasible to control prices through imports at this time.

Regarding the high price of ginger and garlic, he said that the prices of these products have increased in the world market. Especially in China, the ginger-garlic season is over. In the country too, there is an increase in the value of the dollar against the taka and there is a dollar crisis. Due to this the market is unstable.

It should be noted that the production of onion, garlic, and ginger in Bangladesh falls short of the demand. As a result, Bangladesh relies on imports from India for onions and from China for garlic and ginger. When imports from these countries are interrupted, the prices of these products tend to rise in the market. Additionally, there is a tendency among some unscrupulous businessmen to exploit the situation for excessive profit, further driving up prices.