Home Bangladesh Market turmoil over fair prices of agri-products
Bangladesh - March 20, 2024

Market turmoil over fair prices of agri-products

Staff Correspondent : There is a child’s play about fixing the prices of 29 products of the Department of Agriculture Marketing. Nowhere in the country, including the capital, has the effect of determining ‘reasonable prices’. On the contrary, the prices of all products have increased. There is no ‘judicial power’ just by fixing the price of the product – the directorate of agriculture marketing is in full swing. The ‘farmers’ market’ of the Directorate is closed even during such turbulent market times. Even the markets managed by Bangladesh Agricultural Development Corporation (BADC) are not complying with fixed prices. Where other ministries themselves are selling products at cheap rates, the Ministry of Agriculture has not taken any steps to set a positive example in the market.
On the contrary, the price of 29 products has suddenly been fixed without any fanfare.
The price list is in the face of controversy; Confusion has been created. Other organizations are making a mess by going on the campaign with this inconsistent list. Businessmen have to give up in the face of logic sometimes. As a result, even though the prices of various products have been hot since before fasting, there has been a new instability. The buyers are fuming as the market situation does not improve despite the government’s warnings, raids and import of goods.
Experts say the market is becoming more unregulated due to artificial price lists. The Department of Agriculture Marketing needs to sit down with all parties on their bid list as soon as possible. On the other hand, the Bangladesh Shop Owners Association has claimed that the fixed prices of 29 products are futile, meaningless and fanciful. The organization said the price was fixed by the government agency without sufficient scrutiny and consideration. For this they demanded suspension of notification.
In this situation, to give relief to the buyer, the market-stakeholders demand to ensure an orderly marketing structure to give the product to the consumer at a reasonable price without fixing the price.
Market conditions
The prices of 29 products were determined by the Directorate of Agriculture Marketing last Friday. But the sellers are selling the products as per their wish without taking into account the instructions. Tuesday afternoon, the capital’s Karwan Bazaar, Mohammadpur Krishi Market and Town Hall Bazaar were visited. Broiler chicken was sold at Tk 220 per kg, but beef was sold at Tk 220 instead of Tk 664.39 per kg, local garlic at Tk 120. Tk 160 instead of Tk 81, imported ginger Tk 220 instead of Tk 180.20, dry chillies being sold at Tk 450 instead of Tk 327.34. At the retail level, the price of brinjal has been fixed at Tk 49.75. But still the buyer has to pay Tk 60 to Tk 70 per kg of brinjal. Instead of decreasing, the price of potatoes is increasing moment by moment. According to government guidelines, retail level is supposed to be Tk 28.55 per kg of potato. However, potatoes which were sold at Tk 30 to Tk 35 per kg last week are being sold at Tk 40 to Tk 45 this week. Chira is supposed to be sold at the rate of Tk 60 per kg. But the buyer has to pay Tk 80. According to the price list drawn in the chicken shops in the capital’s Karwan Bazar, one kg of broiler chicken is being sold at Tk 210. However, the Directorate of Agricultural Marketing has fixed the maximum reasonable price at the retail level at Tk 175. The price of golden chicken has been fixed at 262 rupees. It is being sold at Tk 320 to Tk 330 in Karwan Bazar, the cheapest market in the capital.
The only thing that is selling below the price set by the government is the farm’s chicken eggs. Buyers are getting two rupees less than the fixed price. Eggs are being sold at a bargain price of Tk 40 in open market. While domestic onion is fixed at Tk 65.40, it is being sold at Tk 60 in the retail market.
Picture outside Dhaka also same
The rates fixed by the Directorate of Agricultural Marketing have not been implemented in any district outside the capital. The district office of the National Consumer Rights Protection Directorate has only one manpower. Sumi Rani Mitra, assistant director of the organization, said that the bid of the Directorate of Agricultural Marketing was not effective in the Barisal market. So far, no direction has been given by the Ministry regarding the strategy to take necessary steps to implement the rates. But every day our team is monitoring the market. The consumer department has to rely entirely on other organizations to conduct operations.
Fakhrul Islam, Sylhet deputy director of the National Consumer Protection Directorate, said, I wanted to conduct an operation according to the fixed price of 29 products. But now the Department of Agriculture Marketing is telling us not to go on the campaign.
Shankar Saha, Vice President of Mymensingh Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said, “We are not even able to buy at the price that the government has asked to sell. Although various departments have conducted raids in Rangpur market, the products are not available at the fixed price.
Traders in Naogaon have stopped selling beef since yesterday, expressing their reluctance to sell it at the price set by the government. Abu Taher, field and market inspector of Agriculture Marketing Department, Bogra, said, “We have not yet informed the traders about the price of the products set by the government.” The process of informing traders will start from today Wednesday.
Iftekharul Islam Rizvi, assistant director of Bogra consumer rights protection department, said that awareness is being conducted among the traders to implement the price set by the government. Strict implementation of the law will be done after awareness.
How reasonable price?
The Directorate of Agriculture Marketing fixes the prices of 29 products but their daily list contains the rational prices of 53 products. The reasonable retail price of mashkalai dal is mentioned as Tk 166.50 per kg in number 2 of the list of 29 products issued by the government on March 15. However, in the list of Directorate of Agriculture Marketing on March 12, the reasonable retail price of this mashkalai was Tk 137.30 per kg. In the March 12 list, the retail price of gram was Tk 92.61; March 15 which has been increased to Tk 98.30. That is, within a day, the government has increased the price by about Tk 30 per kg of mash and 7 taka per kg of gram. Similarly, the price of advanced lentil has been reduced by Tk 5 per kg, but the price of coarse lentil has been increased by Tk 2. Although the prices of eggs, fish and chicken have not been increased or decreased, the price of beef has been increased by Tk 8 per kg, garlic has been increased by Tk 5 per kg, rice has been increased by Tk 8, beans have been increased by Tk 8, tomato has been increased by Tk 4.
Traders have urged the government to sell 29 products at fixed prices. In view of this demand, the lock was found hanging in the farmers’ market of the Directorate of Agricultural Marketing at Manik Mia Avenue in the capital yesterday afternoon. A year ago, this state-of-the-art building was inaugurated at the farmers’ market, but it was not fully operational. Some vendors are said to sell vegetables here for a few hours on Friday mornings during the week. However, BADC’s horticulture exhibition and sales center (Urban Sales Center) is operational at Manik Mia Avenue. Going there, it can be seen that 29 products are being sold above the fixed price. Here chickpea Tk 110, sugar Tk150, local onion 90, lentil (improved) Tk140, eggs per piece are being sold at Tk 12; Which is more than the outside market.
BADC sales center manager Abdul Aziz said, we have not received instructions to sell at the fixed price. Our store is also selling the product at the same price as it is sold in other shops or markets. Although our company is government, there is no opportunity to sell products at low prices.
Meanwhile, complaints have been raised that the Department of Agriculture Marketing has suddenly made a fabricated price list without consulting anyone. Bangladesh Dairy Farmers Association President Imran Hossain said that the price determined by the Department of Agriculture Marketing is not realistic. The new feed price has been increased by 15 to 20 percent. It will not be possible to implement this price in any way. He also complained that no one from their organization was called before fixing the prices of these products.
Bangladesh Poultry Industries Association Secretary General Khandkar. Mohsin said, none of us was called before the price was fixed. It is made sitting on the table. As a result, the retail price is set lower than the cost of production.
Bangladesh Shop Owners Association President Md. Helal Uddin said, the price list of Agriculture Marketing Department and TCB is not compatible. In view of this decision, a severe product shortage may occur in the market. Helal Uddin called the price fixing notification as ‘reckless’ and demanded its cancellation. He commented, “Our demand is that the Directorate of Agricultural Marketing will arrange sale at the fixed price at the retail level under its own management. Terming the price of 82 paisa, 33 paisa as ‘unreasonable and unrealistic’, he said, “If someone buys a kg of brinjal from me, I will How to return a penny? If not returned, I will be sued.
State Minister for Commerce Ahsanul Islam said while visiting the market in Tangail yesterday, the agricultural marketing department has determined the reasonable price of the products produced by the agriculture department. But it is not fixed. We have just started the process. If producers, wholesalers and retailers can be gradually brought under control, the prices will gradually come down.
Section 4(j) of the Agricultural Marketing Act, 2018 states that the organization can determine and implement the minimum and reasonable price of agricultural produce. A maximum penalty of imprisonment of one year or a fine of one lakh taka or both is provided for removing obstacles in the implementation of this law. Apart from this, the government has three ministries and 11 agencies to supervise the product market. They venture like anyone else during fasting or when prices are too high. But it does not bring much result. And sometimes one organization is busy imposing responsibility on another organization.
Director General of Agriculture Marketing Department Masud Karim said, our biggest limitation is manpower shortage. We have no judicial power of our own. As a result, we cannot enter the market at will.

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