- Sugar, oil cost Tk10-Tk20 more than govt fixed rates
- Coarse rice at Tk50-Tk52, miniket Tk62-Tk65 per kg
- There are almost no vegetables below Tk50 per kg
- Lentils, broilers, flour and eggs are pricier too
- Consumer rights activist calls for government measures
Customers have to pay Tk10 and Tk20 more respectively for one kilogram of sugar and one litre of edible oil than the rates the government fixed earlier this month to rein in the soaring food essentials.
Lentils, flour and broilers have now also joined the price hike rally weighing on the low income people who already have sustained a virus-led blow to income.
In the face of spiralling prices, the commerce ministry on 5 September fixed the retail rates of soybean oil at Tk129 per litre. On 9 September, the rates of non-brand and branded sugar were set at Tk74 and Tk75 per kg respectively.
But branded sugar was at Tk85-Tk86 in Dhaka's Karwan Bazar on Friday while the unrefined red sugar was at Tk90 per kg. Non-brand soybean oil was selling at Tk142 and the bottled oil at Tk150.
"How would I manage three meals a day for the family if the market keeps surging?" asked Manik Sikder, a customer at Karwan Bazar.
Not just sugar and oil, non-brand flour that was at Tk38 per kg also spiked to Tk45, while the branded flours were at Tk100.
Chicken prices started to pick up since the virus curbs were lifted in August. The uptrend pushed the white meat by Tk20 in around two weeks to Tk160 per kg now. The Sonali breed was at Tk300, up from the previous Tk250 per kg.
"The supply falls short of the demand. This gap has edged up broiler prices," said Amjad Hossain, a poultry seller at Karwanbazar.
Many poultry firmsA series of pandemic-led lockdown
The price of eggs has also been rising for several weeks. It has risen by Tk15-Tk20 per dozen in a month to Tk115 now. Small sized lentils were at Tk110 per kg, up by Tk10 per kg in a week.
Prices of almost all vegetables have gone up by Tk15-20 per kg in a week. Brinjal, bitter gourd, ridge gourd and okra were above Tk55-60 per kg. Fish prices also spiralled by Tk20 per kg in the last week, said a Karwanbazar seller.
Staple rice market was also volatile — coarse rice was at Tk50-Tk52 while the premium miniket at Tk62-Tk65 per kg.
Ghulam Rahman, president of Consumers Association of Bangladesh (CAB), said, "The government should take action against the traders who are flouting the fixed rates. Besides, the supply chain has to be improved in order to keep the overall market stable."
"Thousands lost their jobs in the pandemic as many faced income crunch. People ran out of their savings too. The government has a responsibility to support them," he said.