Vol. 4 Num 318 Wed. April 21, 2004  
Star City

Ginger too hot to taste
Suger, eggs, baby food pricey; fish disappear;

Ginger price has soared further in the last few of days and reached its 'all-time high' at Tk. 90 a kilogram.

Besides, eggs, sugar and baby food that made another round of rise last week showed no signs of let-up.

The supply of fish has fallen to an alarming level and prices went beyond reach of a majority of buyers.

Despite the satisfactory supply of different types of vegetables, prices were on the increase.

Soyabean oil remained steady at its exorbitant price of Tk 56 a litre and onion was selling at Tk 15-16 per kilogram.

During a visit to the city's kitchen markets at Karwan Bazar, Hatirpool, New Market and Shantinagar yesterday this correspondent found that ginger was selling at Tk 85-90, up from last week's Tk 70-75 a kilogram.

Retailers blamed wholesalers for the price hike. But at a meeting with the commerce minister last Saturday importers urged the government to withdraw the full 22.5 per cent duty on ginger. Local production was poor this year they said, adding there will be no new harvest till November. Side by side, the price of ginger increased more than four times in the international market, they informed. Compared to last year's $200 a ton, they now import at around $ 800-1000 from Indonesia, China and India. They however, pointed out that the price would have been less than Tk 60 if the authorities had control over retailers.

Powdered milk was selling at Tk 240-245 a kilogram, up from Tk 220-230 only two weeks ago. Hundreds of mothers and children protested the price hike with empty feeders at the Central Shaheed Minar on April 10. They also observed a token hunger strike there.

Sugar price rose from Tk 30 to Tk 33 last week. Traders blamed the fall in local production and rise in import cost. Although the government approved import of one-lakh metric tons of sugar on April 10 by the Bangladesh Food and Sugar Industries Corporation, they (traders) saw no chance of early stability because of the time factor.

Eggs became further dearer and were selling at Tk 54, which was Tk 48, a dozen just a week ago. Farm chickens also marked an increase of Tk 5 per kilogram and was selling at Tk 75.

Soyabean oil was selling at Tk 56 showing no signs of let-up. Import of more than 3.21 lakh tons of unrefined oil in the last three months failed to make any effect on the market.

Local and fresh fish have almost disappeared in the last few weeks. Prices of any fish were above the reach of any buyer. A pair of medium-size hilsha was selling at Tk 400-500. Besides, ruhi (local) rose by Tk 20-25 a kilogram to Tk 140-160. Similarly twenty pieces of small koi cost Tk 250-300, pabda Tk 300-350 a kilogram, boal Tk 150-180, mola Tk 120, batashi Tk 150, cat fish Tk 300-350 and rupchanda Tk 200-260.

All types of vegetables including tomato, carrot, cucumber, gourd, beans, and papaya marked 15-20 per cent price increase.

Rice prices, however, were more or less stable last week.

. PHOTO: Syed Zakir Hossain