Covid-19 impact: Ginger prices shoot up amid supply shortage

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Traders said the prices rose due to supply shortage amid the government-enforced countrywide shutdown to defeat the spread of the coronavirus pandemic

Prices of ginger shot up by Tk190 per kilogram from Tk140-160 a week ago, and selling at Tk300-350 per kg in the capital’s kitchen markets amid surging demand and inadequate supply.

Traders said the prices rose due to supply shortage amid the government-enforced countrywide shutdown to defeat the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

However, consumers blamed unscrupulous traders for creating an artificial crisis ahead of the holy month of Ramadan to make a quick buck.

The month of Ramadan is likely to begin on April 25 in the country.

Alam Khan, a retailer at Malibagh kitchen market, said ginger prices went up as the supply chain was disrupted by the shutdown. Besides, the cooking ingredient was not available in the city’s wholesale kitchen markets, he added.

Visiting several kitchen markets in the capital on Saturday, including Rampura and Malibagh, it was found that retailers were selling imported ginger at Tk300-350 per kg, up from Tk140-160 per kg a week earlier.

The local variety retailed for Tk280-300 a kg, which was Tk120 per kg even a week ago.

In wholesale markets, the imported variety sold for Tk270-320 per kg, while the local ones sold for Tk250-270 per kg.

The prices of garlic also increased by Tk10 a kg. The imported varieties were selling for Tk160-170 a kg, which was Tk150-160 a kg a week ago.

Onions retailed at Tk60-75 per kg and sold in wholesale markets for Tk55-60 per kg.

Vegetable prices remain stable

Bitter gourd was selling across retail kitchen markets in the capital on Saturday for Tk40-50 a kg, aubergine Tk40-50 a kg, papaya Tk35-40 a kg, cucumber Tk20-30 a kg, carrot Tk30 a kg, tomato for Tk25-30 a kg and green chilli at Tk60-80 a kg.

Beef sold for Tk600-620 per kg, while mutton sold for Tk800-850 per kg. Prices of broiler chicken went down from Tk120-130 per kg (last week) to Tk110-115 per kg.

Shafin Rahman from Rampura complained that price increasing tendency by the traders just before Ramadan had become a regular tradition.

“They (traders) increase prices as the government has relaxed its market monitoring during the corona-related abnormal situation. Although magistrates fine retailers, they do not take action against the syndicates behind the price hikes.”

Bablu Kumar Saha, director general of the Directorate of National Consumer Rights Protection, said, “In order to protect the interests of the consumer, we are monitoring commodity prices at the retail and wholesale markets in the city and rural areas.”

“We are conducting drives to ensure that no dishonest person can hike prices or create an artificial crisis of essential food items just before Ramadan. We are working to keep the prices stable,” he added.