Garlic price stays high
The price of garlic has remained high since the beginning of Ramadan.
The price of imported garlic rose 71 percent year-on-year to Tk 160-200 a kg yesterday, and the local variety was selling at Tk 100-130 a kg, up 64 percent from a year ago, according to data from the Trading Corporation of Bangladesh.
In Dinajpur, one of the areas that produce garlic, the price went further up due to stocking and bulk purchase by traders.
During visits to different wholesale and retail markets in the district, it was found that each kilogramme of local garlic was being sold at Tk 170 to Tk 200, depending on the size and the quality.
“The rate is nearly double than it was last year” said Azahar Imam, a wholesaler at Bahadurbadar, Dinajpur.
But farmers who produced garlic this year in the district did not get higher margins on sales because of the middlemen.
Wholesalers and retailers are making good profit from selling garlic at exorbitant rates, said Golam Kibriya, a schoolteacher in Dinajpur town, adding that the high price forced him to cut consumption.
Consumers might have to come to terms with higher garlic prices after wholesalers yesterday hinted further increase in price in the days to come.
Officials of the state-run Department Agriculture Extension in Dinajpur said at least 2,810 hectares of land were brought under garlic farming, producing 22,357 tonnes of garlic this year.
Golam Mostafa, deputy director of the DAE, earlier told The Daily Star that the production target exceeded this year and farmers tried their best to fetch healthy yield.
Garlic is produced more or less everywhere in Dinajpur, but it is widely grown in Chirirbandar and Khansama upazilas. Harvesting ended in mid-May.
Abdul Jabbar, a farmer in Chirirbandar who farmed garlic on one acre of land, said he got better price this year compared to last year.
Nazrul Islam, another farmer in the upazila, said he cultivated garlic on a bigha of land this year spending Tk 36,000. He sold each maund at Tk 2,600 at local markets, fetching him Tk 65 for a kg.
“It is the middlemen that are pocketing the profit,” he said.
The price of garlic went up ahead of Ramadan on the expectation of high demand in the fasting month.
Prices of essential commodities such as rice, wheat, pulses, sugar, edible oil, ginger, garlic, onion and potato account for more than one-third of the annual household expenditure of the bottom 20 percent of the population, according to the 2005 Household And Income Expenditure data.
Researchers blame inflation, price hike in international market and business syndication for the price spiral.
Ahead of Ramadan, Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed had said supply of all items, including rice, sugar, edible oil, lentils, onion, garlic, ginger, and dates, was higher than the demand.
So there was no reason for their price hike on the occasion of Ramadan, he added.