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Bangladesh - November 4, 2023

Eggs don’t comein 1.5 months

When potato will come?

Staff Correspondent: The weapon of ‘import declaration’ alone is no longer working to reduce prices. A month and a half has passed since permission was given to import 18 crore eggs in several phases. Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi assured several times that ‘eggs are coming’. Not a single egg was imported, and the market price did not decrease. On the contrary, it has increased. In this situation, the government has allowed the import of new potatoes to rein in the price. So, the question has arisen, will potatoes be imported?
On September 14, the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Livestock held a meeting to fix the price of each egg at Tk 12 and the price of potatoes at Tk 35 to Tk 36 per kg in the retail market. At the same time, the price of domestic onion was fixed at Tk 64 to Tk 65. But after a month and a half passed after fixing the price, this price was not implemented in the market.
Therefore, the Ministry of Commerce has fulfilled its responsibility by allowing the import of eggs at the fixed price. But there is no initiative on other issues related to price reduction.
Eggs have never been imported into the country; Rather, there is a tariff of 33 percent on egg imports to discourage imports. The Commerce Ministry has requested the National Board of Revenue (NBR) to reduce duty on sugar and edible oil, but not on eggs.
As a result, the authorized institutions are wasting time in importing eggs due to the additional duty for obtaining the import permit. The traders said that fulfilling the conditions imposed on the import of eggs is also a challenge for the importing company. As stated in the egg import conditions, eggs must be imported from avian influenza or bird flu free countries. Therefore, most of the companies that are allowed to import have taken the initiative to import from India.
Ahmed Taufiqur Rahman, Managing Director of Arnab Trading Limited, a company that has been allowed to import eggs, said, “Despite the risk of loss, I have opened a bank loan to import eggs from India. These eggs will come to the country in a few days.
According to the government announcement, the price of farm chicken eggs in the retail market is expected to be Tk 144 per dozen (12). But currently a dozen eggs in the market are Tk 155 to Tk 160.
Meanwhile, the price of potato has started increasing in the market recently. Potatoes are now selling at Tk 60-70 per kg. In this situation, the Ministry of Commerce announced the decision to import potatoes last Monday to rein in the price of potatoes. However, people related to the sector say that the Ministry of Commerce does not have the authority to decide on the import of potatoes as an agricultural product. The Department of Agriculture Extension has jurisdiction to permit the import of potatoes.
Hence interested importers have applied for permission to the Directorate of Agricultural Extension. Last Tuesday, 15 institutions applied. The Ministry of Agriculture said in a circular yesterday, in view of 77 applications, permission has been given to import about 50 thousand tons of potatoes in the last two days.
In addition to the import initiative, the Ministry of Commerce has instructed the District Commissioners (DC) to take the initiative to sell potatoes from cold storage at Tk 26 to Tk 27 per kg.
However, the importers complain that the Department of Agriculture Extension is delaying in granting import permission. Badal Chandra Biswas, director general of the Directorate, was not reached on the phone and left a message. He did not reply.

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