Spice market hot

Necessary steps should be taken to rein in price spiral

Published : 29 May 2023 08:41 PM

Traders have increased the prices of all kinds of spices just one month ahead of Eid-ul-Azha, the second biggest religious festival of the Muslims. Despite having enough stock, spice prices have started rising in a span of just two weeks – cumin, onion, cloves, pepper and cinnamon have become costlier.

Both wholesalers and retailers hiked the prices of ginger, garlic, cardamom, cinnamon, clove, cumin, turmeric and coriander and the low-income groups are bearing the brunt of this spike in prices. According to media reports, though there is enough stock of spices to meet the demand of Eid festival, the traders are increasing the prices of spices to make extra profit.

In absence of proper monitoring by the authorities concerned, some unscrupulous traders increase the prices of different commodities as demand rises ahead of different festivals.

Onion, an essential kitchen item, was selling at Tk 60 to 65 per kg in the kitchen markets of the capital, which was sold at Tk 35 to 40 per kg two weeks ago. Similarly garlic was selling at Tk 220 to Tk 280 in the kitchen markets. 

There is no alternative but to get

 tough on syndicates that are responsible

 for creating unrest in the kitchen

 market deliberately

Apart from spices, prices of almost all daily essentials have shot up in the kitchen market, adding woes to the fixed-income people who are struggling to survive. In the four months, prices of sugar, flour, chicken, fish, cooking oil, and vegetables have gone up due to supply constraints amid recovering demand from the pandemic and soaring prices in the international commodity market.

The authorities concerned always assure people, saying there would be no shortage of essential commodities in the country and no shortfall in supply. But a dishonest clique becomes desperate to pocket hefty profits holding the people hostage by illegal hoarding and storage and forming syndication ahead of every religious occasion like the holy month of Ramadan, Eid-ul-Fitr and Eid-ul Azha every year.

Apart from the government, all must remain alert against illegal hoarding, storage and syndication. This unholy nexus of dishonest businesspeople is engaged in creating instability in the market targeting the Eid-ul-Azha again like in the past.

If the government does not get tough on the organised thugs and syndicate is not broken, the prices of daily essentials including spice will not come down. Besides, Trading Corporation of Bangladesh must be strengthened and the rampant extortion of the influential quarter in the transport sector will have to be stopped to bring the abnormal price hike down. There is no alternative but to get tough on syndicates that are responsible for creating unrest in the kitchen market deliberately. Besides, authorities concerned must conduct mobile courts, monitor price lists and penalise traders who sell essential commodities at higher prices than mentioned in price lists right now.