Staff Correspondent: Inflation in the country is the highest during last few years. Income has decreased butincreased expenses manifold. The prices of many daily commodities are beyond the reach of the lower class. The prices of various necessary are also skyrocketing. Among them, the fear of famine and global recession is on the face of the head of government. Bangladesh is also on the list of food crisis countries under the threat of possible famine by organizations working on world food security, including the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, which has created additional pressure for all classes of people. In this, the price of rice, the main food product of the people of the country, is increasing at an unusual rate. Public life is now miserable.
The number of low-income people is slightly higher in Sipahibagh area of Khilgaon. Jalal Mia, a bicycle repairer there told, “The family is not going like it used to be.” A boy left school and entered the shop. Far from saving, now borrowing every month. At the end of the month, the creditors have to escape somehow. In between, I do not sleep since the news of famine.
He said, ‘I don’t know who else is suffering in this situation. But my child’s education is over. How to wear it? I am also getting into debt, otherwise it will be fixed sometime.
Talking to some others like Jalal Mia in that area, their plight and worries are known. Not only there, the real income of people has decreased everywhere due to the highest inflation in the last 11 years in the country. As a result, the increase in the price of goods reduces the purchasing power of the common people and they suffer more. Not only marginalized people but also lower middle and middle class people are under pressure.
They say they are trying to adapt as much as possible to protect themselves from the situation. They are cutting their expenses in different ways in different sectors. Some have reduced the consumption of expensive food, some have stopped buying clothes. Others are saving costs by changing their homes.
Talked to a person named Saladin Ahmed in Sipahibagh area. The employee of a private institution said, “The boy is studying at Pallima Academy. From the beginning I used to live in Chowdhurypara area next to the school. Rent is high there. That’s why I came to this area now.
He said, “even at the end of the month, the account does not match. That is why the market has to reduce costs and movement. Parents are the biggest problem. I can’t send their expenses to the village like before.
In the past few months, other organizations working on food security except the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and the international organization Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) have said that many countries may be under the grip of famine in 2023. 350 million people in the world will face food crisis if this global recession hits. Bangladesh is also in the list of food crisis of these organizations.
Common people say that there is no good news in the market in the last few months. Basically, since the beginning of the Russia-Ukraine war, the heat of prices in the global commodity market has started to spread in the country’s market. This has also been affected by the increase in the price of fuel oil. It increases the price of daily commodities several times. After the news of famine, prices of commodities are again increasing in phases, which have now reached unbearable levels. Low and middle income people are struggling to meet that cost.
Market data also says so. Government organization Trading Corporation of Bangladesh (TCB) data says that the price of flour in the market has increased by 79 percent in the last one year. It has increased by 8 percent over the month. Similarly, flour prices increased by 64.77 percent year-on-year and 16 percent month-on-month.
Rice prices increased by 6 percent year-on-year. That is, people are under great pressure due to the increase in the prices of the two main food grains. The prices of both the products in the Bangladesh market are the highest in history. Earlier, when the price of rice increased, people used to choose flour as an alternative. This year there is no chance. The price of flour is also very high. Even the price of flour has exceeded the price of rice.
On the other hand, TCB information also says that the price of soybean oil in the market is now 21 and a half percent higher than last year. And the price of sugar has increased by 45 percent. In the case of sugar, the price has increased by 21.62 percent in the last one month. Last year the price of one kg of sugar was around Tk 80, but now it is Tk 115.
Market data also says that in the last one year, the price of lentil has increased by 26 percent, the price of anchor dal by 47 percent, the price of garlic by 50 percent, the price of dry chili by 115 percent, the price of ginger by 130 percent, the price of milk powder by 37 percent, the price of salt by 15 percent, the price of farm eggs. increased to 23 percent.
M Asaduzzaman, the former research director of Bangladesh Institute of Development Research (BIDS) told, “It is true that there has been a dollar crisis since the Russia-Ukraine crisis. However, the rate at which the product price has been increased due to those reasons is high.
He said, “This unusual market situation did not happen suddenly.” Ever since the Corona situation, it has been slowly happening, but the government has not taken it into account, which has now become extreme. It has gone out of control.’
Former Secretary of Agriculture Dr. Anwar Farooq said, “Prices of imported products are not being controlled. But there is no substitute for oil, sugar, pulses and flour. That is why it is necessary to ensure that such important products are not disrupted. Where there is a shortage of dollars, they should be supported as much as possible to maintain the supply if necessary. So that they can import goods conveniently. Then the market will also be stable.
Market analysts also say that there has been an abnormal increase in the prices of many products including food products in the world market. At the same time, the increase in the price of fuel oil, the large imbalance between demand and supply in the country’s market, the increase in the cost of transportation and the exchange rate of foreign currency have an impact on the market. Also, a class of unscrupulous traders are taking advantage of the supply shortage. Capitalizing on the news of famine, they are hoarding goods and raising prices unnecessarily.
They felt that efforts to find alternative sources of imports, increasing food subsidies and increasing the range of social protection programs of the government for poor people are necessary to maintain the supply of products in the market.
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