Price of dates may increase in Ramadan
Imports are very low
Mahfuz Emran: Last few years the supply of dates during Ramadan was good. The price was also within reach. But this year’s picture may be different. Traders are not able to import dates as per demand due to not being able to open LC. In this situation, the traders are afraid that there may be a shortage of dates in Ramadan and the price may also increase.
Most dates in the country come from Middle Eastern country Saudi Arabia. Due to the corona epidemic, there were various restrictions on performing Umrah and Hajj in Saudi Arabia in the last few years. Therefore, the number of people in the country was less. Which affects the dates market. The demand for dates also falls due to the fall in prices. Which benefits Bangladesh. Bangladeshi traders have been importing dates at relatively low prices for the past few years.
After the Corona pandemic, the country has a dollar crisis due to the Russia-Ukraine war. In this situation, the government has taken various steps to overcome the country’s reserve stock and dollar crisis. One of these is the imposition of various restrictions on imports. The traders of Chittagong could not import dates for several months due to pulling the reins in opening the LC.
Late last year traders were allowed to open LCs to import dates. Still, some complications remain. Meanwhile, the currency prices of the countries from which dates come to Bangladesh have also increased compared to taka. All in all, the import of dates has decreased significantly. Which has already affected the country’s market. More crises may arise ahead.
According to the information obtained from Chittagong Sea Port’s plant pest control center, more or less dates are imported into the country throughout the year. Imports increase ahead of Ramadan. From the beginning of December last year to January 24 this year, 11 thousand 570 tons of dates arrived in the country in about 2 months. Which is less than normal target. Last year, around 30,000 tons of dates arrived in the months before Ramadan.
According to the data obtained from Bangladesh Bank, opening of date import credit decreased by 30 percent between October and December of 2022. Again, according to the Ministry of Commerce, 75 thousand tons of dates should be imported from January to March to keep the market normal during fasting. Accordingly, imports are very low so far.
Nasir Uddin, Deputy Director (DD) of Chittagong Sea Port’s plant pest control center told, “The arrival of dates has not stopped at all, the quantity is decreasing. Imports are down because of the LC-dollar problem. This is not Bangladesh’s problem, but global. That is why the government is giving importance to bringing unnecessary things so that dollars are not spent. Dates are not very important. We can eat two dates in Iftar and we can eat five. That is why there will be less crisis than before, this is not the case.
On January 30, it was seen that the prices of all kinds of dates have increased in Falmondi market in Station Road area of Chittagong. A box of Ajoa dates weighing 5 kg from Saudi Arabia is being sold for Tk 2,800 to Tk 3,000. Which was sold last year for Tk 2,200 to Tk 2,500. A box of Mabrum dates weighing five kg is being sold for Tk 3500 to Tk 4200. Last year these dates were sold at Tk 1700 to Tk 2100.
Again, 5 kg Medjul dates from Egypt are being sold at Tk 3700 to Tk 4800. These dates were sold last year for Tk 2800 to Tk 3600. Similarly, Safari dates are being sold at Tk 1850 to Tk 2350, which was fetched at Tk 1200 to Tk 1600 last year.
Amber dates are selling at Tk 2300 to Tk 2800, which was Tk 1600 to Tk 2100 last year. A box of 10 kg Zahedi dates from Dubai is being sold for Tk 1,200 to Tk 1,250. Last year these dates were sold for Tk 830 to Tk 1050. Rham dates are being sold at Tk 1500 to Tk 1600, which was sold at Tk 1050 to Tk 1250 last year.
Proprietor of Arabian Dates, a wholesale date shop in Falmondi Bazar Shahidul Alam told that the price of dates is higher than last year. Supply in the market is 30 percent less. This is due to the increase in the value of the dollar. Besides, few people have gone to perform Hajj in Saudi Arabia due to lockdown for several years. That’s why demand and prices were low. Now a lot of people are going there to perform Umrah and Hajj.
General Secretary of Chaktai-Khatunganj Artaddar Traders Association Mohammad Mohiuddin told that dates have not yet started to arrive in Khatunganj in view of Ramadan. This time relatively less LCs have been opened. Imported dates are still on the way.
He said that the price has increased compared to what it was a month ago. Due to low supply in the market, prices will increase further ahead of Ramadan.
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