The Financial Express

Spices astronomical long before Ramadan

Cumin, chilli, ginger prices hit record highs

| Updated: February 03, 2023 16:56:07

Spices astronomical long before Ramadan

Most of the spices have gone up in price exorbitantly in a week as traders are on the prowl to raise costs of the items long before Ramadan.

Traders keep on citing low imports amid dollar crisis as the only reason behind this tectonic hike, but sector analysts sense market manipulation behind it.

Meanwhile, egg prices further surged by Tk 10 a dozen last week as brown farm egg reached Tk 140-150 a dozen.

Red chilli and cumin seed saw the highest retail hike than other spices as chilli powder prices hit Tk 650-700 a kg and cumin Tk 700-760 on Thursday.

The price trends were marked at Rayerbazar, Segunbagicha, Shantinagar retail markets and groceries in different areas of the city.

The two items have hiked Tk 60-100 a kg in a week and Tk 200-250 in the last three months, revealed the Trading Corporation of Bangladesh (TCB) and groceries.

Green chilli, clove, cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, garlic, turmeric powder, coriander powder, bay leaf and star anise all witnessed a hike in a week enhancing expenditure of the consumer.

Only onion remained static at its previous rate of Tk 35-45 a kg.

Green chilli hit Tk 150-180 a kg, ginger Tk 160-350, garlic Tk 160-220, turmeric powder Tk 260-320, coriander powder Tk 180-220, posting a Tk 30-50 hike.

Both TCB and Department of Agricultural Marketing said spice saw a 10-26 per cent price hike in a week and current rates are 16-151 per cent higher than last year's.

Red chilli, ginger and cumin seed witnessed the highest hike of 151, 111 and 95 per cent in a year, said the TCB.

Ranajit Ghosh, a Kanchpur trader, said Bangladesh is fully import-dependent on cinnamon, cardamom, cloves and cumin seed.

It also imports more than 60-70 per cent of the total demand for red chilli, turmeric, coriander, bay leaf, ginger and garlic, he added.

Mr Ghosh said the import of such items has fallen 40-60 per cent in a year amid dollar crisis in opening L/Cs.

Prices have already risen by 25-30 per cent for dollar's appreciation against taka, he cited.

Swapan Bhoumik, a northern spice wholesaler, said importers at Khatunganj wholesale market in Chattogram have taken the 'lesser import, larger profit' policy to cope with the changing importing trend.

He said global prices of many spices have even showed a 10-12 per cent decline in the past one year.

Importers are issuing supply orders slowly for traders which have been making delivery congestion, resulting in a hike in prices long before Ramadan, due from the last week of March.

Consumers Association of Bangladesh vice-president SM Nazer Hossain said, "As per our primary reports, importers have brought a good amount of garam masala (cardamom, clove, cinnamon, cumin) in the last three months, which is enough to meet demand until Eid-ul-Fitr.

He said Chattogram and Dhaka wholesale markets should be brought under strict monitoring soon to prevent any kind of artificial hike in commodity prices to give consumers some relief.

Mr Hossain said market syndicate as well as skyrocketing costs of inputs, including poultry feed, day-old-chick, medicine and electricity, are core reasons for a hike in egg prices.

He suggested that egg prices be kept within the reach of commoners who are largely dependent on this item for meeting their protein demand.

[email protected]

Share if you like

Filter By Topic