Prices of vegetables kept skyrocketing as the transport strike triggered by the fuel price hike entered its third day on Sunday, further shrinking people's purchasing power.
However, higher prices for almost every vegetable didn't make a difference for farmers who are still selling at the same prices, report our local correspondents from all across the country.
Kushtia farmer Md Akram Hossain, who grew eggplants this season, sold to local wholesalers at Tk35-40 per kg last week. Three days into the transport strike, when eggplants were selling for Tk 90-100 per kg in Dhaka, having shot up Tk20-30 a kilo in price, Akram was still selling at the same price of Tk35-40 per kg.
Scouting markets around the country including in Kushtia, Meherpur, Bogura, and Rajshahi, our local correspondents report that the skyrocketing price of vegetables in Dhaka markets hasn't made any difference for the farmers who are producing the vegetables.
Farmers continue to sell eggplant for Tk35-40 per kg, yardlong bean for Tk40-50, and luffa (Jhinga) for Tk25, while these vegetables are going for, Tk80-100 per kg in Dhaka markets having increased Tk15-30 per kilo, practically overnight.
Karwanbazar wholesaler Faizullah, who sources vegetables from Kushtia, would pay Tk150 per sack of 70-80kg for truck transport, which has now surged to Tk200 during the strike.
Transporting goods by a 5 ton truck from Pabna used to be Tk16,000-18000, which has shot up to Tk 24,000-25,000.
Protesting the recent price hike of diesel and kerosene, bus and truck owners have enforced a transport strike so there are very trucks on the roads, and the ones that are available for transporting goods cost an extra Tk7000-8000.
Shahidul Islam, a vegetable wholesaler in Karwan Bazar, said, "On the one hand transport fares have increased, and there is a shortage of trucks to transport vegetables on the other."
Given this situation, Shahidul has increased his price of beans by Tk10 per kg and is now selling it wholesale for Tk 100 a kilo.
Boubazar retailers were selling beans for Tk 130 per kg. Saiful Islam, a Boubazar retailerr, said that three days ago he could buy bitter gourd wholesale for Tk80 but now he has to buy it for Tk 100. He is increasing the price of vegetables by Tk 5 to Tk 15 due to the increase in wholesale prices.
Zakir Hossain, a Karwanbazar retailer, said sales have also declined due to the rising prices.
"People are buying less than they used to for obvious reasons," he said, adding that " the number of buyers in the market has gone down as well."
Vegetable prices in the capital's kitchen markets kept rising on Sunday amid the ongoing transport strike across the country in protest against the latest hike in fuel prices.
Prices of almost all kinds of vegetables have gone up by Tk15-20 per kg within three days.
According to most sellers, the prices shot up due to increased transport fare and high prices in the wholesale markets.
Md Foyez Ullah, a vegetable storekeeper at Karwan Bazar, said the cost of importing vegetables from Kushtia has increased Tk50 per sack.
"The cost per kg has increased by Tk1," he added.
Hasibul Islam, another Moghbazar vegetable vendor said, "Three days ago, I bought 5 kg of okra at a wholesale price of Tk 200. Today, the price has gone up to Tk250."
He also noted that the price of per 5kg of bitter gourd has jumped to Tk350 from Tk300.
"The wholesale price for all vegetables has increased by Tk8 to Tk10 per kg," he added.
Sahidul Islam, a Karwan Bazar vegetable wholesaler, said vendors are selling products at higher prices due to rising transport costs.
"I brought beans from Pabna. Previously the rent for a 5-ton truck was Tk16,000-18,000. It is now Tk24,000-25,000, and even then, it is extremely difficult to get a truck," he said.
Alamgir who sells eggs in Karwan Bazar, said the wholesale price of eggs has gone up Tk1 per egg.
"I used to buy 100 eggs for Tk780 but now that costs me Tk880. I am selling a dozen eggs for Tk115," he told The Business Standard.
Each kg of pointed gourd now sells for Tk60/kg, round brinjal or eggplant is Tk80/kg, and medium-sized gourds are Tk80 each.
Public and goods transport owners of the country called for a nationwide strike starting last Friday in protest against the latest price hike of diesel and kerosene.