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Vegetable prices soar as floods damage farmland

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FT ONLINE

The prices of vegetables have skyrocketed in the city’s kitchen markets as the monsoon floods devastated large areas of farmland.

Of them, the prices of onion have risen almost 100% from a month ago. The vegetable was selling at between Tk50 and Tk55 per kilogram at different city markets on Monday, up from Tk30-35 in late July.

Prices of garlic, ginger including different spices and vegetables including eggplants, pointed gourd, brinjal also increased while the Eid-ul-Azha, one of the biggest Muslim festivals, is only a few days away.

The retails said they were facing supply shortage due to floods, resulting in the price hikes.

“Farmlands have been damaged by the floods in different parts, which has contributed to the surge in vegetable prices,” Tofazzal Hossain, a vegetable vendor at Karwan Bazar, said to media.

Trading Corporation of Bangladesh said the supply crunch of vegetables due to the deluge heat up the kitchen markets in Dhaka and elsewhere in the country and increased the prices of essentials up to 102% in August from July.

Onion prices shot up by 90-102%, 15 kinds of vegetables by 50-100%, chili by 110%, garlic by 20%, riverine fish except Hilsa by 20-30%, local chicken by 10%, cardamom by 8% and cinnamon by 5% on Friday than the previous weeks, according to the data of TCB and Department of Agricultural Marketing (DAM).

The prices of some vegetables have increased by Tk10-20 per kg in last couple of days. In the capital’s Gopibagh kitchen market on Monday, tomato was selling at Tk140-160 per kg, brinjal at Tk60-80 per kg, bitter gourd at Tk60-80 per kg, cucumber at Tk60-80 per kg, ridge gourd at Tk80 per kg and okra at Tk60 per kg.

Luftar Khan, a vegetable trader in Shukrabad kitchen market in Dhaka, said there were fewer supplies in the market as many rail and road transportation system had collapsed in the northern region of the country.

Mohammad Harun, an onion importer, said: “The damage of crops due to floods and price hike in India are responsible for the rise in onion prices in the local market while heavy rainfall in Bangladesh is hampering transportation, which is also responsible for the hike in local onion prices.”

The market insiders also blamed “syndicates” for “manipulating” the prices of essentials as the Eid-ul-Azha approached.

-SAM

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