Prices of almost all spices have doubled in a year, and consumers are particularly feeling the pinch ahead of Eid-ul-Azha when consumption of spices is high.
Despite sufficient stock and import of essential spices, traders at both wholesale and retail level hiked the prices of onion, ginger, garlic, cardamom, cinnamon, clove, cumin, turmeric, and coriander.
SM Nazer Hossain, vice-president of the Consumers’ Association of Bangladesh (CAB), told UNB that prices of essential commodities have already gone up, and the hike in prices of spice will further burden the already hard-up low- and middle-income people.
Though there is enough stock of spices to meet the demands during Eid, traders are indiscriminately hiking the prices to make more profit – due to lack of proper monitoring, he said.
According to the Trading Corporation of Bangladesh (TCB), on June 22, 2022, cumin was sold at a minimum price of Tk 380 and a maximum of Tk 450 per kg. The price of cumin has increased more than twice in one year.
Before Eid-ul-Azha, other spices are also beyond the reach of low-income people. Prices of most spices, including locally grown onion, garlic, dried chillies, green chillies, turmeric, ginger, and cinnamon have increased.
Among them, the prices of ginger and garlic have almost doubled. The UNB correspondent’s visits to Shyambazar, and Karwan Bazar – two major wholesale and retail markets in Dhaka – confirmed the latest prices today (June 24, 2023).
There were enough stocks of ginger imported from Myanmar, Vietnam, and Indonesia in Shyambazar on Friday. The wholesale price of ginger is Tk 120 to Tk 250 per kg depending on the quality. In Karwan Bazar, the retail price was Tk 250 to Tk 350 per kg.
TCB said that even a year ago, ginger was sold between Tk 60 to Tk 100 per kg at the retail level.
Traders say that China is the biggest supplier of ginger in the country. But due to its high price, Chinese ginger is not available in the country right now. Stock of Indian ginger is also low in the market. Mainly because of this, the price of ginger has more than doubled within a year.
The price of dried chilli has also increased. A year ago, dried chillies were sold at Tk 220 to Tk 250 per kg, but this year, it is being sold at Tk 300 to Tk 340 per kg. Indian dried chillies are being sold at a higher price of Tk 380 per kg. In retail markets, such as Karwan Bazar, the price of imported dried chillies has also gone up to Tk 480 per kg.
Coriander is being sold at Tk 165 to Tk 220 per kg, cloves at Tk 1,500 to Tk 1,600 and cinnamon at Tk 410 to Tk 480 per kg in Karwan Bazar, Shyampur and Sutrapur Bazar.
According to TCB, a year ago, coriander was sold at Tk 120 to Tk 150, cloves at Tk 1,050 to Tk 1,200 and cinnamon at Tk 400 to Tk 450 per kg.
Traders say that due to the dollar crunch, importers are not able to import enough spices. The prices of some species are high in the global market as well.
Import costs have also increased. Apart from that, the production cost of spices in the country has also gone up due to the increase in fertiliser, fuel, and labour costs. Also, the cost of transportation is high. Mainly due to these reasons, the price of spices has gone up.