Despite winter abundance, vegetable prices soar

An opposite scenario is present in the markets across rural regions, with the prices almost half or lower than half of the retail prices in the capital.


File photo of winter vegetables in a market. PHOTO: THE DAILY STAR

December 29, 2023

DHAKA – The prices of all vegetables have been spiraling unusually in the markets in Dhaka recently, despite being in adequate supply amid peak season in winter.

At Dhaka’s Karwan Bazar wholesale market yesterday, each kilogramme of brinjal was sold at Tk 40-50, while beans at Tk 45-55, tomato at Tk 50-55, cauliflower at Tk 30-32, cabbage at Tk 25-30, potato at Tk 48-52 and local onion at Tk 70.

In Dhaka’s retail markets, brinjal is being sold at Tk 80-100 per kg, tomato at Tk 100-120, beans at Tk 60-80, cauliflower (medium size) at Tk 60-70, potato (new and old) at Tk 80-100, onion (local) at Tk 90-100, Indian onion at Tk 120-130, cabbage at Tk 40-50, and radish at Tk 30-40.

An opposite scenario is present in the markets across rural regions, with the prices almost half or lower than half of the retail prices in the capital.

According to traders at Boro Bazar and Satmail Bazar wholesale markets in Jashore, the biggest vegetable production belt in the country, each kg of brinjal is being sold at Tk 35-40, while beans at Tk 35-36, tomato at Tk 50-60, cauliflower at Tk 20-25, cabbage at Tk 18-20, and radish at Tk 14-15.

The prices were almost similar in Dinajpur, another vegetable production zone, according to farmers and wholesale traders.

Md Harun, a banker by profession, said the recent unusual hike in prices of vegetables is not acceptable since this is peak season with no scarcity of supply in the market. “It is an unbearable burden for the people created mainly because the government and other monitoring agencies have no control over the market,” he added.

Al Amin, a security guard in Dhaka’s Sukrabad area, said, “As prices of daily essentials are already high, soaring prices of vegetables compelled me to reduce my family’s food intake.”

“This is peak season of winter vegetables. The market has adequate supply. Why are the prices so high?” questioned Golam Moula, a security guard.

According to the Department of Agriculture Marketing, compared to the same time last year, the prices of cauliflower and cabbage are 33 and 80 percent higher respectively, while bottle gourd is higher by 50 percent, and brinjal almost doubled.

Kamrul Islam, a vegetable retailer in Dhanmondi, said he never witnessed such abnormal price hike of vegetables during winter in 30 years.

Md Imran Master, president of Bangladesh Kanchamal Arot Owners’ Association, said although there is no supply crisis, the root-level prices of vegetables are comparatively higher this year due to higher production costs.

Besides, higher transport costs and extortion on the highways are also responsible for high vegetable prices, he added.

Farmers Sukumar Roy of Jashore and Azazul Islam of Dinajpur said the high prices are due to middlemen trying to make extra profit.

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