The price of ginger has surged 50% over the past couple of days as traders cut imports from a fear of making losses amid the global price volatility and local variety hitting the market.
The Chinese variety of ginger which is currently 90% in the market sold at Tk150 per kg at Khatunganj – the country's largest wholesale hub for essential commodities – on Friday. It was below Tk100 ten days ago.
Besides, one kilogram of Myanmar variety ginger sold at Tk55-60 per kg and newly-hit local variety at Tk70 on the day.
"Ginger market has been almost fully dependent on imports for the last few months. Many importers, however, incurred losses for various reasons," Newaz Morshed, proprietor of M/s Ajmir Traders at the wholesale hub, told The Business Standard.
As the global price has now been on the rise amid the local ginger starting to hit the market, traders have reduced their imports which ultimately caused a supply shortage of the spice, he added.
Junaidul Haque, owner of M/s Makka Trading that imports spices said importing raw spices is very risky for its nature of fast rotting.
"Moreover, increased dollar prices, global booking rates and the government steps of raising LC margin for spice items to 100% led us to huge losses in the last few months."
Traders also said the quality of ginger imported from China was poor and a portion was completely rotten, which was another reason behind their losses. They, however, hope that the price of ginger will come down in the next two to three weeks with the availability of local ginger.
Hamidullah Market (raw spice market) Traders Association General Secretary Md Idris said import dependency makes the spice market volatile from time to time.
Less than one-third of the country's total demand is fulfilled with local production, particularly in Chattogram Hilltract, he noted, adding that the rest come from China, India and Myanmar.
According to the Department of Agricultural Extension, the country has an annual demand of about 2.35 lakh tonnes of ginger, while it produces only 80,000 tonnes.
Currently, five to seven trucks of ginger come to Khatunganj every day, which is expected to increase to 30-35 trucks in the peak harvesting season.