Following a halt in their import from China in the wake of coronavirus outbreak there, the prices of garlic and ginger went up by above 35 percent in kitchen markets of the capital over the last one month.
Visiting different kitchen markets on Sunday, the UNB correspondent found that locally-grown garlic was selling at Tk 160-200 per kg against Tk 100-150 a month ago.
The imported variety was selling for Tk 200-230 a kg which was Tk 120-160 last month.
Meanwhile, traders were selling ginger at Tk 140-200 a kg on Sunday, which was selling at Tk 110-150 during the same period of January.
Traders said the garlic price has gone up following the fallout of coronavirus outbreak in China which accounts for 90 percent of imported garlic in Bangladesh.
They also hinted that the price may shoot up further following a supply crunch here if the current situation persists for long.
According to state-run Trading Corporation of Bangladesh (TCB), the price of imported garlic went up by 31.03 percent while that of local one by 3.70 percent compared to a month.
Anisur Rahman, a trader at Moghbazaar Kitchen Market, said several essential items got their prices inflated. “However, prices of these two items –- garlic and ginger –- have gone up much.”
He said he sold imported garlic for upto Tk 230 a kg and ginger at Tk 110-150 per kg.
Anisur also said their sale depends on prices at the wholesale market.
Abdul Motin, a wholesaler at Shyambazar, told UNB that 90 percent of garlic Bangladesh imports comes from China.
However, the import remained halted for the last one month since the Asian giant is fighting the deadly coronavirus outbreak, he said. “Garlic and ginger are mainly imported from China. The prices will come down once the import becomes normal,” he said.
Motin also said around 1 -1.5 lakh tonnes of garlic are imported from China every year.
He, however, could not provide any data on the ginger import.
Meanwhile, prices of lentil, pepper, turmeric and sugar are also up in the kitchen markets.
SM Nazer Hossain, vice-president at Consumer’s Association of Bangladesh (CAB), said traders always look for an issue to hike the prices of essentials. “They’ve done it this time, too although there’s no impact of coronavirus.”
Traders hiked the onion price through a syndicate, he said, adding that they are now trying to increase garlic and ginger prices in the same way.
Nazer, however, expressed the hope that the crisis will not last long.