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Bangladesh - March 16, 2023

Dates market unstable ahead of Ramadan

Businessmen blame ‘syndicate’

Ibrahim Khalil Jewel: In just a few days, the month of Ramadan will begin. Every year, the price of daily necessities in the country increases centering the fasting month. Especially the price of Iftar items goes beyond the reach of common people.
Like every time, this time too, there is no exception. Rather, in some cases, essential daily products are being bought and sold at a higher price than last year. In the meantime, the price of dates has increased from Tk 1,000 to Tk 1,200 per carton.
Due to its high nutritional value, almost everyone eats dates at Iftar during fasting. As a result, the demand for this product increases several times when fasting comes. Businessmen do not miss this opportunity.
But local businessmen say, we have nothing to do here. We sell like we buy. Our profit margin is very small. Syndicate traders always benefit here. Moreover, due to the dollar crisis, the price of dates has increased.
In the meantime, a carton of Mumtaz-Mariam varieties of dates has increased from Tk 1,500 to Tk 2,500. Apart from this, cartons of Farida dates are being sold at Tk 1,500, increasing from Tk 800. At present Dalbarali dates are selling at Tk 450, Barai dates Tk 300-400, DabasTk 200, Jihadi Tk 180, KamrangaTk 400, TanishiaTk 350, AjoaTk 700 per kg. Dates which used to be sold at the lowest price at Tk 90 per kg have been selling at Tk 130-140 for the past few days.
Abdullah Al Roman, a shopper said, there is still about a week and a half left for Ramadan to start. But now the price of dates has increased several times. I thought if I buy now, maybe I can buy dates at a lower price. Come and see that the price has increased. We are forced to buy dates at high prices.
A date seller named Harun expressed his anger and said that the price of dates is increased by showing various excuses as the demand for dates is higher in the month of Ramadan compared to normal time. Syndicate traders raise prices as they see that the government does not do strict monitoring. This time the price of dates has gone beyond the reach of common people. I thought I wouldn’t do business anymore. Because I cannot bear this. I will go abroad after Eid.
Giyas Uddin, another businessman, said, “We have to buy dates from wholesalers at a higher price now.” We have nothing to do here. We do not increase the price. At present, our profit margin has decreased due to buying dates at higher prices. I have been doing this business for a long time, so I cannot quit even if the profit is low.
He has been doing business for about 10 years.
Another businessman Anwar Hossain told, “My shop has 10-12 items of fruit.” Dates are always in high demand before fasting. But this time the sales are very low due to low demand.
He also said, we are not able to buy dates properly now. There is no way without selling at a higher price. The demand for dates increases during the fasting month, so now the wholesale traders have syndicated to increase the prices. If this syndicate is not broken, there is a danger that the price of dates will increase after a few days.
In this regard, the assistant director of the Directorate of National Consumer Rights Protection Md. Selimuzzaman said, we have been monitoring the market regularly. Our monitoring will continue in the month of Ramadan. If a trader keeps the price of dates unreasonably high and a complaint is made to us, we will definitely take action against that trader.

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