Home Bangladesh Fixing price is end of responsibility
Bangladesh - March 17, 2024

Fixing price is end of responsibility

No initiative for Implementation

Nazrul Islam : Since the beginning of Ramadan, various government agencies have stepped into the field to keep the market ‘cool’. While the Ministry of Commerce, Food, Industry and Fisheries and Livestock took steps one after the other, the Ministry of Agriculture had no leeway. Directorate of Agriculture Marketing is supposed to lead the market to keep the prices stable, but they are ‘Kumbhakarna’ in their work. They woke up on the fourth Ramadan.
The company fixed the prices of 29 products last Friday afternoon. It is as if the work of the Department of Agriculture Marketing is over by fixing the ‘reasonable price’, which was proved yesterday in various markets of the capital. The organization that fixed the price, the officials of the Department of Agriculture Marketing were not seen in the market. Old lists are hanging in shops. The price is taken as desired. At least six markets in the capital were visited, and most of the traders did not accept the prices of the Directorate. None of the 29 products were seen to be sold at the fixed price.
Those concerned say that the price list of 29 products is fabricated by the Agriculture Marketing Department. The company has taken strategies like fixing prices to get media attention during Ramadan without talking to the concerned parties.
Consumers say the government should review product stocks at every step and ensure proper supply to the market, not just pay lip service. The situation will not change unless all the relevant organizations are brought to the field.
Meanwhile, the officials of the government’s related supervisory agencies say that it is difficult to implement the price as soon as the instructions are given. Because, it takes some time for the new price products to reach the retailers. Hence, they are now more focused on monitoring the production and inventory situation and effective pricing at these stages. They believe that if the prices are normalized at these levels, the retail price will be effective.
Market was not affected
Four markets of the capital were visited in four hours from 10 am to 2 pm yesterday – prices of 29 daily essential products like fish, meat, eggs, pulses and vegetables were fixed, but they were not implemented in the market. No product is still being sold at the price set by the government.
Beef was sold at Tk 780 per kg in the capital’s town hall market yesterday. But yesterday the Directorate of Agriculture Marketing fixed the price at Tk665. Apart from this, the price of broiler chicken is fixed at Tk165, but it is being sold at Tk200 per kg. Khasi meat is being sold at Tk 1100 to Tk 1150, goat meat at Tk 800 to Tk 900.
In Mohammadpur Agricultural Market, it was seen that the fixed price of Tk60 green pepper is Tk80, Tk180 ginger is Tk200, Tk120 garlic is Tk150, Tk98 chickpea is Tk115 to Tk120, Tk66 onion is being sold at Tk80 to Tk85 kg. Mugdal was sold at Tk 175 to Tk 180, lentil at Tk 110 to Tk 135, peas at Tk 160 and khesari dal at Tk 140. Red eggs of broiler chickens are being sold at Tk 45 to Tk 48, white eggs at Tk 40, domestic chicken eggs at Tk 65 to Tk 70, duck eggs at Tk 60.
It has been seen that per kg potato is Tk30 to Tk35, brinjal Tk60 to Tk80, papaya Tk40, bitter gourd Tk100, potato Tk100, shrimp Tk800, tomato Tk60-70, beans Tk40-60, cucumber Tk60, cucumber Tk50, pepper Tk80, Dandelion Tk80, cilantroTk 80-Tk100, onion sprouts are being sold at Tk 40 per kg. Apart from this, lemons are being sold at Tk 30-60 each, cauliflower at Tk 50, cabbage at Tk 40 and gourd at Tk 50. Among chickens, broiler is selling at Tk220 per kg, golden chicken at Tk350 and local chicken at Tk550 to Tk600.
The fish market is the same. Rui Tk350 to Tk420 per kg, Katal Tk400, Pangas Tk200 to Tk220, Tilapia Tk200 to Tk220, Pabda Tk450 to Tk600, Poa Tk400 to Tk600, Tangra fish Tk750 to Tk800, Puti Tk500, Meni Tk600, Bele Tk650 to Tk800, Boal Tk750 to Tk800, AirTk800 to Tk1200, Chital fish was seen to be sold at Tk 750.
Azizur Rahman, a grocer in Mohammadpur Town Hall Market, said, “The price we have bought is higher than the fixed price.” So, I can’t reduce it.
Vegetable seller Abdul Matin said, can you control the market by setting the price? Today I bought potatoes for Tk32 per kg. Wholesalers control the market. Extortion must be stopped. If you decide the car rental according to kilometers, then the price will be reduced.
Karwan market fish seller. Suman said, asked the government to come to the Ghat. We will buy fish from them. Then I will sell them at the fixed price.
Two different rates from two companies
Although the official organization Trading Corporation of Bangladesh (TCB) and Directorate of Agricultural Marketing have published the product price list, it has nothing to do with the other. Again, there is a big difference in the retail market with the prices of different products in these two lists. For example, the Department of Agriculture Marketing has fixed date Tk185.70. However, according to the information of TCB, the price of ordinary dates in the market yesterday is Tk 280-450.
No news all year round
In the Agricultural Marketing Act, this organization has been given maximum powers to regulate the market of agricultural products. In this act of 2018, it is stated in the activities of the Directorate of Agricultural Marketing that formulation and implementation of prices of agricultural products is one of the main functions of this organization. The agency has been empowered to operate mobile courts to regulate markets. Despite this, the Directorate of Agriculture Marketing, the regulatory body responsible for market surveillance of agricultural products, is nowhere to be found in the market. Sometimes the company ends the liability by fixing the price. From the head office of the department to the upazila, none of the agricultural marketing officers go to the market.
Only one job is done regularly by the company. Regularly sent a list of daily commodity prices of Dhaka city to various ministries and organizations. Of course, there is a big lump in this work. There is a huge difference between the daily price list and the actual market price.
Mizanur Rahman, senior agricultural marketing officer in charge of Dhaka district, said that our place is very big, but we don’t have the power. Because we cannot impose fines like magistrates. The day I get that power, I will conduct regular mobile courts.
However, Additional District Magistrate AKM Hedayetul Islam, the officer responsible for the distribution of magistrates for various supervisory tasks in Dhaka district, said that in the last seven months, we have not received any demand from the Directorate of Agricultural Marketing for mobile courts.
According to the information, in 2021 six and 40 products in 2022 were fixed by the Directorate of Agriculture Marketing. However, the price of a product was not effective at that time. Last year, the company fixed the price of potatoes. And even if the price of all the last 29 products was fixed, it was not effective in the market.
Who is saying what?
All concerned have various complaints against the Department of Agricultural Marketing regarding price fixing. President of Bangladesh Dairy Farmers Association Mohammad Imran Hossain said, we have not taken any advice before determining the reasonable price of cow or goat meat. Secretary General of Bangladesh Poultry Industries Association Md. Khondkar Mohsin said, we were not called before determining the price of chicken and eggs. Several entrepreneurs involved in the production have made the same complaint. Golam Murtazao, the president of the Meat Traders Association, does not know on whose advice such prices have been fixed.
Director General of Agriculture Marketing Department Masood Karim said, we have not fixed the price, we have determined what should be the reasonable price. Accordingly, the organizations will conduct operations and take measures. We have a manpower crisis. He said, I have decided the price after analyzing the data from the field. The prices of these 29 products have been decided in consultation with all the stakeholders, so implementation is possible.
Golam Rahman, President of Consumers Association of Bangladesh (CAB), said that the Department of Agriculture Marketing has no precedent of taking any action against those involved in price manipulation. There is a need to establish accountability and transparency and restore order in the institution.
Director General of National Consumer Rights Protection Directorate AHM Safikuzzaman said that the responsibility of determining the reasonable price and its implementation is also that of Agriculture Marketing Directorate. It is clear in the Agricultural Marketing Act itself. The National Consumer Protection Authority Act is very comprehensive. It is not just our job to enforce fixed prices.
Creating awareness, stopping fraud in the market, keeping the quality of the product, etc. need to be done. In between we are monitoring the market. We are short on manpower. Working day and night. But the Agriculture Marketing Department has many manpower, many powers – they can play a big role in market supervision if they want. He said that on Saturday, the Directorate of Consumer Rights Protection conducted 55 raids and collected a fine of Tk7 lakh 52 thousand from 141 companies.

Check Also

Online gambling can’t bring under control

–Online gambling has spread like an epidemic-BTRC’s tactics are not working-Control …