Wednesday, 29 March, 2023

Kitchen market heats up ahead of Ramadan

  • ANM Mohibub Uz Zaman
  • 19th February, 2023 10:37:48 AM
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Kitchen market heats up ahead of Ramadan

The prices of essential commodities, including sugar, chickpeas and date,  have sharply gone up a month before Ramadan.

Due to the rise in the US dollar rate and the difficulty in opening letters of credit, the impact of the lower imports is being felt in the local market, which has resulted in a price spiral for many essential items.

As Ramadan approaches, market insiders anticipate that the prices of essential commodities may soar even further.

Additionally, retailers have reported that they have stopped selling certain products due to the inability to obtain essentials at prices lower than the government-set retail price.

A visit to various markets in Dhanmondi, Mohammadpur, Mirpur-6, 12, 11 Shewrapara, Natunbazar, and Badda revealed that refined loose sugar was selling at Tk 115-120 per kg and brown sugar at Tk 130-150 per kg, while packet sugar was not seen in the retail shops.

With effect from February 1, the government has increased the price of loose sugar to Tk 107 per kg from Tk 102 per kg and the price of packed sugar to Tk 112 from Tk 108 per kg.

Many shops are out of sugar, and retailers are selling it at prices Tk 8-13 higher than the government-fixed rate.

A retailer at Segunbagicha market, wishing to remain anonymous, said even though the government has fixed sugar prices at Tk 107, it costs more than Tk 112 per kg for them to source it.

"If we sell it at higher prices, mobile courts fine us. So, many retailers have stopped selling sugar, and those who have some in stock are selling it at higher prices," he said.

Wholesalers have also been affected by the government's fixed retail price, with some calling for a mill gate price and wholesale price to be fixed as well.

"We are purchasing loose sugar at Tk 106 per kg from the mills. How can we sell it at Tk 107 per kg at the retail level?" said Abul Hashem, a wholesaler of sugar and edible oil in Old Dhaka's Moulvibazar.

During Ramadan, chickpeas, dried peas, and dates are the most commonly consumed staple foods, and their prices have also jumped. The price of chickpeas increased by Tk 5 per kg in a week and was selling at Tk 90-100 per kg at retail markets on Saturday, up from Tk 80-90 per kg one week ago.

A kilogram of chickpeas cost around Tk 70 last Ramadan.               Imports of essential Ramadan items such as chickpeas dropped by 56 percent from November to January of the current fiscal year 2022-23, compared to the same period of the previous fiscal year 2021-22.

The prices of the most-consumed items during Ramadan, such as chickpeas, dried peas, and dates, have increased in the wholesale markets in Dhaka and Chattogram.