Spices have joined the commodity price rally following the diesel price hike in early November.
Traders in Chattogram's Khatunganj – one of the key wholesale commodity hubs in Bangladesh – said price hikes in the international market have caused the spike in the domestic market. But consumers do not buy the claim, and point fingers at the wholesalers for cashing in on the recent fuel price hike.
At Khatunganj, cumin, cardamom and cashew nuts prices have edged up by Tk100-110 per kg since last week.
At the market, Indian cumin varieties are at Tk310 to 320 per kg, while Iranian cumin varieties are at Tk410 to 420 per kg. Even a week ago, the item was at least Tk50-60 less per kg.
Cinnamon is at Tk300 per kg, up from Tk290, cloves Tk800 per kg, black pepper Tk525, and cardamom is at Tk1,860, up from Tk1,750 a week ago.
Cashew nuts are at Tk730 per kg, up from Tk620 a week ago and raisins are at Tk265-270 per kg, up by Tk50-55 per kg. The price of isabgol (Psyllium husk) has increased by Tk60 per kg, while mustard by Tk10 per kg.
Md Sekandar, a Khatunganj spice trader, told The Business Standard, "Cumin was at Tk280 per kg even a few days ago. But now it is at Tk420. Cardamom price has also increased by Tk100-110 per kg."
Retailers have their own explanation
The higher price of spices at the wholesale markets is also reflected in retail markets with cardamom varieties selling for Tk1900-2000 per kg, and even more than that in some places.
Nezamat Ali, a trader at Chattogram's Bahaddarhat Kacha Bazar, said, "The price of spices has gone up especially due to the coming winter season when there is an increased demand for spices because of events like weddings and picnics."
He also said the price of cashew nuts and cardamom has increased the most.
"Fine cumin is currently selling for Tk320-340 per Kg, cashew nuts are selling at Tk680 per kg, up from Tk580, and cardamom is Tk1,780-1,800 per kg," he said.
In retail markets, black cumin seed is selling for Tk100 which was only Tk40 a week ago. The price of Raisins increased from Tk210 to Tk245, the price of peanuts has increased Tk30 per kg, and mustard is selling for Tk120, up from Tk90.