Green chillis in Dhaka cross Tk250 per kg, vegetables also skyrocket due to prolonged flooding
Amid the supply crunch of imported onions, the local variety of the cooking staple has climbed to Tk100 per kg in Dhaka kitchen markets.
Green chillis also joined the price hike rally, as only 250 grams of the cooking ingredient costs city dwellers around Tk60-65.
Both local and imported onions spiked to Tk100-120 per kg in local markets following neighbouring India's export ban on the bulb on September 14. The prices later dropped to Tk65-85 as the country's importers started exploring alternative exporting sources apart from India.
However, with a pause of nearly twelve days, wholesale onion prices surged again in the capital in the first week of October.
Visiting several areas in the capital Thursday, the supply of imported onions to kitchen markets was found to be sluggish. Though the markets previously were selling both local and imported onions, most of the traders on Thursday only had the local variety of the bulb.
Retailers said there was a supply crisis of imported onions, and it pumped up prices of the locally grown bulb. Per kg local onions were Tk90-100 while few grocers had the imported variety which was also Tk100.
"Previously the market used to have both imported and local onions. But now we have only local onions. Therefore the prices are slightly high," said Md Sharif, a grocer in Dhaka's Rampura market.
Haji Md Majed, an onion importer of Dhaka's largest onion wholesale market Shyambazar, said, "The import is yet to gather pace. At present small consignments are arriving at the market which hardly ease the supply crisis."
According to the wholesaler, onion imports would take one to one and a half months to normalise.
At Shyambazar, local onions were being sold at Tk85-88 per kg.
In the meantime, green chilli prices were also unbridled as the prolonged flooding ruined the vegetable in many regions. Like onions, traders said the supply of the item has also become dependent on import.
Importers said per kg of imported green chilli was Tk150 at Hili Land Port on Thursday. Green chilli prices rise to Tk170-180 in wholesale and Tk240-250 in retail as soon as the item arrives in Dhaka markets.
Md Sujon, a wholesaler in Dhaka's Karwanbazar area, said like onions, there was a shortage in green chilli supply. The imported one was dearer, and therefore they have to sell it at a higher price.
The gap between wholesale and retail prices of green chillis is around Tk100 per kg.
On that, a vegetable trader in Dhaka's Mogbazar area, Faridul Islam, said that people buy chillis in small amounts as the prices are higher than usual. Therefore, the sales are low while green chillis rot quickly if they remain unsold.
"For those reasons, we have to sell it at a higher price," he added.
In the meantime, vegetables are dearer too. Traders even said it is difficult to buy two to three types of vegetables with a Tk200 budget as most of the items are above Tk80 or more.
Md Habibur Rahman, a city dweller who came to Rampura kitchen market, commented, "Buying vegetables has almost become a luxury now as the prices have skyrocketed."
Customers said brinjal prices never go up throughout the year except during Ramadan. But the vegetable is now sold at Tk80-90 per kg. Meanwhile, ridge gourds, pointed gourds and green beans are sold at Tk65-80 varying by market.
Potatoes, which hover around Tk20-30 throughout the year, surged to Tk40 per kg. A small size bottle gourd even costs Tk60-70 now.
Leafy greens are on the top of the price hike list. The items soared to Tk20-30 while they previously were around Tk8-10 per bundle.