Staff Correspondent: Unstable spice market centered around Eid al-Adha. Cumin and ginger are suffering the most. At present, cumin is being sold in the retail market for Tk 950 to Tk 1000 per kg. But last Eid, the price of this cumin was Tk 450.
The lower- and middle-class people are suffering more from this instability in the spice market amid the rising prices of animals before Eid al-Adha. Shahidul Islam, who came to Rampura market in Dhaka to buy spices, said that he bought cumin at the price of Tk 450 a few weeks ago. Now Tk 1000. How can prices double in such a short span of time?
He said, everything is going beyond the reach of middle-class people like us. Government is not regulating the market properly. Because of this common people have to suffer.
Meanwhile, it has been seen that the prices of some spices have increased by two to three times compared to the last Eid just two months ago. And within a year it has increased up to five times. The prices of good quality cumin and ginger have increased the most. Apart from this, the prices of other spices including garlic, turmeric, pepper, cloves, cinnamon, cardamom are also high.
Retail traders say that since Eid-ul-Fitr, there is an upward trend in the spice market. At present, cumin is being sold in the wholesale market for a thousand rupees, which was Tk 450 at that time. And the price of ginger increased from Tk 120 to Tk 360 during this period.
Trading Corporation of Bangladesh (TCB), a government organization, provides the same information as the market. According to the agency, in June 2022, cumin was sold at a minimum price of Tk 380 and a maximum of Tk 450 per kg. And at that time imported ginger was sold at Tk 60-100 per kg depending on the quality and domestic ginger at Tk 120-Tk 140. That is, the price of ginger has increased three to five times over the years.
On the other hand, the price of garlic, one of the accessories of the sacrificial meat, is also increased. Imported garlic is being sold at Tk 140 per kg in the wholesale market, while the price in the retail market is Tk 160-180 per kg. The wholesale price of desi garlic is Tk 120 per kg and it is being sold at Tk 160 in the retail market. Some garlic is being asked for Tk 180 per kg.
Enamul Haque, a spice trader in Karwan Bazar, said that there is no supply of the required quantity of spices. Due to this, the price is increasing in the market. Being dependent on imports has an impact on the appreciation of the dollar.
According to a source in the spice shop of Karwan Bazar, now each kg of cloves is sold at Tk 1,600. Last month, the price of cloves was Tk 1500 per kg. Again, the price of cardamom increased by about Tk 100 per kg and is being sold at Tk 1,600 to Tk 2,000. Apart from this, pepper was sold at Tk 700-750, cinnamon at Tk 450 and coriander at Tk 280.
Vijay, owner of Messrs. Comilla store, a spice trader in Begumbazar, said that the price of a 30 kg sack of cumin has increased by Tk 16,500 in a year. Cumin is not coming from India. In case of other masala dollar crisis, banks don’t want to give LC (Import Letter of Credit). This is why the price is high.
He also said that even then the prices in the retail market have not increased so much in the wholesale market. Our stores are monitored by the government, but those involved in this price gouging are not monitored there.
Meanwhile, in the retail market, desi onion is sold at Tk 80 per kg. On March 3, the price of desi onion per kg was Tk 30. Onions imported from India are being sold at Tk 45-50. After being closed for the last 81 days, the government approved the import of onions from June 5. Soon after this announcement by the government, the price of onion fell by Tk 10-15 to Tk 80 per kg. After that, the price of onion did not decrease.
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