Adequate supplies and a decline in import prices have brought down the wholesale prices of different categories of dates, a commodity highly consumed during Ramadan, compared to their prices last year. Serajul Islam, general secretary of the Bangladesh Fresh Fruits Importers Association, told The Independent: “We import around 45,000 tonnes of dates every year. But the demand for dates is 35,000 tonnes during Ramadan alone.”
When asked about the price, Serajul Islam said the wholesale price of ’Zahedi dates was Tk. 60–65 a kg as against Tk. 70–75 last year. Besides, Nagal date is being sold for Tk. 120–180 per kg and Ajwa dates for Tk. 400–500.
Anbara dates are selling for Tk. 400–500 a kg, Lulu dates for Tk. 140, Saudi Arabia Marium for Tk. 800–850 per kg, Emirates gold for Tk. 95–100, Segai for Tk. 160, Irani Marium for Tk. 650–680, and Adam for Tk. 1,350–1,400 per kg.
Citing another reason, Serajul Islam said: “We import dates from Iraq, where they have cultivated a huge amount of the fruit and received high yields. So, import prices have gone down.”
“Usually we import dates from Saudi Arabia, Dubai, Tunisia, Iraq, Iran, Syria, Egypt and Pakistan,” he noted. “Though we import dates from abroad, the local market size is worth approximately Tk. 300 crore,” he added.
According to the Bangladesh Fresh Fruits Importers’ Association (BFFIA), i a total of 13,445 tonnes of dates have been imported during the July–March period of the current fiscal year.
“The date season begins in October, November and December. So, we import dates during that time. Owing to adequate stocks, date prices have not increased this year,” said Serajul Islam.
A kg of date is being sold for Tk. 100–1,200 based on their quality in different Dhaka markets.
The eating habit of people has changed in recent years. Now, health-conscious people consume dates round the year, but the demand usually skyrockets just before Ramadan, said Md Hedayetullah, a wholesaler based in Karwan Bazar.
Prices of top-quality dates have decreased by Tk. 100–130 compared to previous years. But prices of lower quality dates have decreased by Tk. 20–30, said another wholesale and retail trader, Md Jahiruddin.
Old Dhaka’s Badamtali area is the largest wholesale fruits market in the city. Currently, around 250 wholesalers and importers are buying and selling fruits in this market.