The prices of hilsa and other fish, chicken, beef and mutton increased in the retail markets in the capital Dhaka over the week ending yesterday as demand of hilsa fish rose for Pahela Baishakh. The Bengali New Year’s Day will be celebrated on April 14 amid great festivity in the country.
Besides, vegetable prices have remained high over the last couple of weeks due to lack of adequate supply against a rising demand and chicken prices also have shown an upward trend. In the capital"s kitchen market, including Karwan Bazar, vendors said on the occasion of Pahela Baishakh, buyers have already started buying hilsa, generating increased demand for the fish in the market. Hence, with increasing demand, the vendors have been forced to raise the prices of hilsa.
A visit to several kitchen markets in the capital, including Karwan Bazar, yesterday revealed that the price of hilsa fish was higher compared to the previous weeks.
The item was yesterday being sold for Tk 1,300–1,500 a kg as against last week"s Tk 900–1,050. However, the prices of other fishes remained high over the week. Rohu was being sold for Tk 350–600 per kg, tilapia for Tk 150–180, pangas for Tk 170–200, pabda for Tk 600–700, wallago attu for Tk 600–800 and catfish for Tk 500–600.
Buyers claimed that in order to book some extra profits every year, traders store hilsa on the occasion of Pahela Baishakh and hike the price of the fish. As a result, an artificial shortage of hilsa is created in the market, and the price also increases.
Besides, the beef price went up by Tk 30 per kg and mutton price by Tk 50 as against the prices last week. Beef was being sold for Tk 520–550, up from Tk 500–520 only a week back. The price of mutton was Tk 800–850 a kg, which was Tk 750-800 last week.
Traders said the demand for beef and mutton has increased, but their supply has remained the same. This has triggered the price hike.
On the other hand, vegetable prices remained high throughout the last couple of weeks. Most of the vegetables were being sold for Tk 50–80 a kg.
New summer vegetables like pointed gourds, okra, bitter gourds and colocasia stems were being sold for Tk 70–90 a kg yesterday.
Winter vegetables have almost disappeared from the market. Only tomato was available for Tk 35–50 a kg, up from Tk 25–40 a week ago.
Bitter gourds were being sold for Tk 70–85 a kg, sponge gourds for Tk 60–80, and pointed gourds and snake gourds for Tk 70–90. Eggplants were selling for Tk 40–50 a kg, bottle gourds for Tk 40–50 apiece, ladies finger for Tk 55–65 a kg, papaya for Tk 20–30 and cucumber for Tk 30–40.
Most of the vegetables and leafy greens showed a further hike in prices during the period. Sweet pumpkins were priced at Tk 40–50 per piece, while cauliflowers and cabbages were selling for Tk 40–50 and Tk 35–45 apiece, respectively.
Green chillies were being sold for Tk, 60–70 a kg. Newly harvested potatoes were selling for Tk 20–30 a kg. “Vegetable prices are high due to lack of adequate supply. The rain has damaged crops and inflicted heavy financial losses on vegetable growers,” Hasibur Rahman, a vendor at the Kawran Bazar kitchen market, told The Independent yesterday. But consumers blamed the government"s lax monitoring system, which has failed to keep prices under control.
Meanwhile, layer chicken (small size) was being sold for Tk 210–220 per piece, broiler chicken for Tk 160–165 per kg and Pakistani chicken for Tk 260–350 per piece. The price of local chicken also went up per kg price at Tk 400–450.
A chicken trader, Abdus Samad, said the price of chicken increased during this period every year. But this year the price has risen significantly because of the inadequate supply, he added.
Saiful Islam, a customer at the Karwan Bazar kitchen market, said that prices of all products had been high since last month. "The price hike has created problems for middle-class families. We have no extra income, so it is very difficult to buy poultry or fish,” he added.
Duck eggs were being sold for Tk 155–160 a dozen, while local chicken eggs were retailing for Tk 165–170 in the kitchen markets. These items had been sold for Tk 130–135 a dozen and Tk 135–140 a dozen, respectively, earlier this year.
Local varieties of onion were being sold for Tk 25–35 a kg at retail markets yesterday, while the imported variety was selling for Tk 25–30.
Garlic was being sold for Tk 90–100 a kg. Local ginger was being sold for Tk 100–110 a kg, while the imported Chinese variety was selling for Tk 75–90. Prices of different varieties of rice remained unchanged over the week.