- Traders fixed eggs price over phone
- DNCRP to conduct raids at rice markets
- FBCCI to hold a meeting with the big egg-producing companies today
After two weeks of turmoil, the prices of essential commodities in the capital's kitchen markets started to come down as government monitoring intensified.
The prices of eggs and broiler chickens started falling within four days after Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi announced egg import and the Directorate of National Consumer Rights Protection (DNCRP) launched drives in markets.
Although egg prices came close to where they were before the fuel oil price spike, the prices of broiler chicken, though fallen, have not yet returned to a normal state.
A dozen of eggs is selling for Tk120-130 now in different markets of Dhaka, down from their recent peaks of Tk155-160. Broiler chickens are selling for Tk180-185 per kg, as against Tk200-210 earlier. Egg prices were at the Tk120-125 level per dozen and broiler chicken Tk155-160 per kg before the latest hike in fuel prices on 5 August.
The DNCRP has observed that the wholesalers are destabilising the egg market by setting higher prices through phone calls and text messages, capitalising on the rise in fuel prices.
AHM Shafiquzzaman, director general (additional secretary) of DNCRP, at an event said, "The cost of transportation per egg should increase by Tk0.3-0.4 due to increase in fuel prices. But traders increased the price by Tk2.70 per egg. Egg traders' associations destabilise the market across the country by fixing prices on phones."
The DNRP is now monitoring the rice market. The prices of rice, which were being sold at high prices already, rose further due to the instability of the dollar market.
Coarse rice is now selling for Tk55-58 in the market, which is 21.51% higher than last year, according to data from the Trading Corporation of Bangladesh (TCB). Good quality Miniket rice is selling for Tk75-78 whereas the best quality of this variety costs Tk80-85, which is 12% higher than the same period last year.
The government has allowed various traders and institutions to import 10 lakh tonnes of rice. But traders, anticipating the higher import cost due to the high dollar price, increased the prices in advance.
To prevent market manipulation by unscrupulous traders, the DNCRP will conduct raids in rice markets across the country from Monday.
The Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industries (FBCCI) will hold a meeting with egg and broiler chicken producers and traders on Monday morning to find out those responsible for the volatility in the egg market.
In a meeting with the DNCRP on Sunday, Haji Lokman Hossain, general secretary of Karwan Bazar Kitchen Market Traders' Association, said, "Due to the dollar price, the cost of importing rice from India has risen. Considering this cost, traders have already increased the price of rice. It is not completely illogical and unethical."
TCB's market analysis data on Sunday showed flour prices rose a week ago due to a halt in wheat exports and a strong dollar. Loose flour is selling for Tk50-55 per kg, which was Tk45-50 earlier. Packaged flour is selling for Tk55-60 per kg, up from Tk50-55.
The prices of edible oil remain stable as the government did not allow a price hike by Tk20 per litre demanded by the traders. However, after the increase in fuel oil prices, the price of onion rose from Tk 40-45 to Tk50-55 per kg.
The DNCRP has given several instructions in the meeting with egg wholesalers, retailers and retailers on Sunday.
These include sales receipts must be retained, the wholesale price and purchase price from the farmer must be kept at a reasonable level and traders' associations cannot be allowed to fix the price of eggs and chicken in any way.
At the meeting, Aman Ullah, president of Tejgaon Egg Traders Multipurpose Association, said, "Around 18-20 lakh eggs are sold in the markets of Tejgaon every day from 12 am to 5 am. Some 35 traders and 25 retailers of the association collect these eggs from different parts of the country. The price is fixed at night in accordance with the rates of the companies and different districts. Later they inform retailers over the phone."
At this time, the DNCRP DG AHM Shafiquzzaman asked why the price per egg was increased by Tk2.70. In response, Aman Ullah said that the big egg-producing companies started fixing the increased price after 7 August. In a competitive market, we set the price accordingly.
Aman Ullah said that he gets the price of eggs every morning through an SMS from Nasir, a dealer of Kazi Farms Group and then fixes the price accordingly at night.
AHM Shafiquzzaman said the Tejgaon Egg Traders Association society will not be able to determine the price of eggs and chickens in this way. "The prices however can be determined by a bidding system like the fish market," the DNCRP DG said.
Mostofa Azad Chowdhury Babu, senior vice-president of FBCCI, said, "The prices have increased because of the hawkers and middlemen. But those who are playing the market should be identified specifically. That is why FBCIS has called a meeting with small and big producers of eggs and chickens on Monday."