Rice prices continued to rise in local markets during the week even after permission for large-scale imports.
The leading rice companies have raised the price by a maximum of Tk 2 per kg, according to market sources.
Meanwhile, most of the vegetables also followed the price-hike trend, raising the suffering of consumers further. The price of essential green chillies jumped to Tk 240 within two days from Tk 160 per kg.
Traders said the supply of vegetables is decreasing as the production areas have been affected by floods. This situation will remain for the next two months.
Recently, the government approved 386 importers to import 1.016 million tonnes of rice to stabilise the prices in local markets and ensure food security. But the decision, however, failed to make an impact on the market.
On the contrary, the traders say, as the price of imported rice is high; the price of local rice is also on the rise, increasing by Tk 50-100 per sack (50 kg) in the last week.
The retail price of common non-branded rice witnessed a hike by Tk 1-2 a kg, as coarse rice was sold at Tk 54-56 a kg, medium rice at Tk 62-66 a kg and finer varieties at Tk 70-80 a kg.
Besides, the price of aromatic rice including chinigura increased by Tk 10 per kg, as open chinigura rice was sold at Tk120 per kg while packaged chinigura of different brands at Tk 130-140 per kg.
According to retailers, only a week ago, the price of common non-branded coarse rice was Tk 52-54 a kg, medium Tk 60-64 a kg and finer varieties Tk 68-80 a kg.
Md Yunus, a trader from Morium Store at Gopibag area in the capital, said, “The price of imported rice is Tk 2-3 higher compared to local rice. So, we are not buying imported rice. As the price of imported rice is high, the price of domestic rice has also increased. A sack of (50 kg) rice which I bought for Tk 2,400 last week now costs Tk 2,500. We heard that a lot of rice will be imported. The initiative is supposed to reduce the price in the wholesale market. But I do not see it in reality.”
Importers say they are less interested in importing rice like last year because prices have gone up in the neighbouring countries. Many are not interested also because they have to pay a higher duty.
Meanwhile, the price of vegetables is also increasing in the market. Green chilli price jumped to Tk 240 per kg in the capital, increasing by Tk 80 within two days. Besides, the prices of other vegetables also increased due to the loss of crops inflicted by the recent flood, said traders concerned.
Brinjal price hit maximum Tk 80 a kg, tomato Tk 130 a kg, pointed gourd and okra Tk 45-50 per kg, bitter gourd Tk 60-70 per kg, and potato Tk30 per kg on Wednesday in the kitchen markets of the capital.
Noor Alam, a vegetable vendor at Segunbagicha kitchen market, said, “Flood waters are rising in the country’s vegetable hubs, including the northern region. Besides, the vegetable fields in different parts of the country have been destroyed by the recent torrential rains for several days.
This has reduced the supply of vegetables which ultimately resulted in the hike of prices both in wholesale and retail markets.”