The import of 10 crore eggs from India to keep rising prices at bay may prove futile, as the neighbouring country's traders have already raised egg prices in response to the news.
Importers said they received import orders yesterday, 15 days after the government announced that eggs would be imported to keep the price of the essential item at Tk12 each.
It will now take a maximum of one week to open letters of credit and import eggs, they said, doubting the sale of imported eggs at the set price after their arrival.
Egg prices have jumped to 5.70 rupees from 4.80-4.90 rupees in India after the news, they explained, adding that those eggs will cost Tk10 to reach Bangladesh.
Besides, importers have to pay Tk2 duty on each egg, they said.
Zakir Hossain, proprietor of Cheese Gallery, permitted to import 1 crore eggs, told The Business Standard, "The price of eggs has increased in India. At the same time 33% duty has to be paid at home. Each egg will cost Tk10 to arrive in the country, which should be sold for at least Tk10.30.
Traders said eggs costing Tk10.30 are likely to be sold at least at Tk12-12.50 in the retail market.
Meanwhile, each egg at Dhaka's kitchen markets is already selling at Tk12-12.50.
To control egg market volatility, the government has fixed the retail price of each egg at Tk12. However, as eggs were not sold at this price, the government granted import rights for four crore eggs to four companies, and later six additional companies were given permission to import six crore eggs.
According to sources at the commerce ministry, no new company has applied for the import of eggs. However, if an application is made, the ministry will consider it.
Bangladesh has a daily demand for 4 crore eggs, but production has dropped to three-quarters crore due to various factors, including the pandemic and increased feed costs.
With people relying more on eggs due to higher prices of fish, meat, and vegetables, traders exploit the situation, leading to eggs being priced at Tk15-16 each.
Green chillies remain hot
Meanwhile, the prices of green chillies were at Tk220-240 per kg yesterday at markets in Chattogram and Dhaka. They were Tk150-180 a week ago.
Traders attribute the rise in chilli prices to low supply, with India also experiencing increased chilli prices due to non-seasonal production, causing a slight supply shortage.
Wholesalers and traders in Chattogram told TBS that the supply of green chilli has suddenly decreased due to rain impacting the price. As the price has increased, the sales volume has also decreased.
During normal times, 12 to 15 truckloads (13 tonnes per truck) of green chilli used to arrive in the port city's Reyazuddin Bazar market and 150 to 200 tonnes used to be sold every day in the wholesale market.
Now only 7-10 trucks of green chilli arrive each day.