- Department of Agriculture Marketing sends letter to departments concerned to keep agricultural products transportation normal by road, water and rail
- Agricultural products transportation through railways and BTRC will remain active
- DCs, SPs and UNOs' cooperation sought to keep inter-district agricultural products transportation uninterrupted
- Price of essentials rising, despite no shortage of supply
- Consumers resort to buying frenzy to stockpile daily essentials
The Department of Agriculture Marketing has issued separate letters to Roads and Highways Department, shipping and railways ministries, seeking cooperation to keep supply of agricultural products uninterrupted during the lockdown starting today.
Besides, initiatives have been taken to strengthen the inter-district transportation system through introducing freezing wagon bogies.
Mohammad Yusuf, director general of the Department of Agriculture Marketing, said that measures are being taken in advance to prevent the loss of farmers which they faced during the first year of the pandemic due to the collapse of the supply chain of agricultural products.
During last year's lockdown, the farmer could not sell their products as the supply chain broke down. On the other hand, consumers also had to buy products at higher prices.
Mohammad Yusuf told The Business Standard that during last year's lockdown, the supply chain broke down due to various reasons. "The situation deteriorated at that time due to the delay in taking some decisions. But this time we have been working from the beginning. I hope the situation will be better this time," he said.
On Sunday, the marketing department gave a letter to DCs and UNOs across the country. Special supervision is requested to ensure that there is no problem in marketing and transportation of the produce of the farmers. At the same time, in order to ensure smooth flow of roads and waterways, cooperation has been sought from the concerned departments through letters.
Sources said on Sunday, the marketing department sent a letter to DCs and UNOs across the country, requesting special supervision to ensure smooth marketing and transportation of the produce of the farmers.
At the same time, in order to ensure smooth flow of vehicles and vessels on roads and waterways, cooperation has been sought from the departments concerned through letters.
During the lockdown, the banner of 'Department of Agricultural Marketing' will be put up on the vehicles carrying agricultural products so that those were not obstructed. All the trucks owned by the Bangladesh Road Transport Corporation (BRTC) will also be hauled at half price. However, special trains will not be provided for the transportation of goods, only wagons will be added to the passenger trains.
Asked, University of Global Village Vice Chancellor and agricultural economist Md Jahangir Alam told TBS, "The implementation of the initiatives cannot be delayed. If there is a problem in the supply chain, the farmer will incur huge losses and the consumer will have to pay higher prices which happened during the first lockdown."
Meanwhile, boro harvest has already started in some haor regions which means that day labourers from different districts will travel to those areas. The Ministry of Agriculture has written to all the divisional commissioners, deputy commissioners, and superintendents of Police and agriculture officers across the country to ensure that there is no problem in the movement of these workers.
The letter, signed by the ministry's deputy chief Sheikh Badiul Alam, sought cooperation so that there is no problem in the trade of chemical fertilisers, agricultural products, agricultural machinery, etc.
Market and stock situation
Meanwhile, the news of the lockdown has triggered a buying frenzy among consumers for additional stocks of daily necessities since last Saturday, although the government repeatedly assured that there were ample stocks of all kinds of daily essentials.
Meanwhile, traders have also increased the prices of various products, forcing the consumers to buy onions, potatoes, broiler chickens, eggs and many other products at higher prices.
Kitchen market sources said due to this increasing demand of the buyers, the retailers are stocking products from the wholesale market. As a result, wholesalers have also increased the prices.
However, sufficient stocks of products have been noticed at the wholesale and retail levels.
The price of onion has increased the most with local onions being sold at Tk40-45 which was Tk30-35 a few days ago. Similarly, imported onions are being sold atTk35-40, which was Tk30.
On Sunday, wholesale price of onion rose to Tk36-38 in the warehouses of Karwan Bazar. In other words, if it affects the retail market, consumers will have to buy onions at Tk45-50.
Aminul Islam, an onion storekeeper of Karwan Bazar, said, "We bought onions from different warehouses in Pabna. Prices are rising there due to increased demand. So, we also have to sell at higher prices."
Meanwhile, the price of broiler chicken has also gone up. After Shab-e-Barat, the price of broiler chicken dropped to Tk150-160 per kg, now it has jumped again to Tk160-165. The price of potatoes has increased from Tk18-20 to Tk22-25. Some retailers were seen asking for up to Tk100 for a dozen of eggs, which was sold at Tk90-95 last week.
Md Sumon, a grocer in the capital's Badda, said people have already started shopping more because of the lockdown. That is why the prices of everything have gone up in the wholesale market. We also have to sell at a higher price.
Meanwhile, the commerce ministry has urged the consumers not to buy extra products out of panic. According to the ministry, there are adequate stocks of essential commodities.
In addition, the Trading Corporation of Bangladesh (TCB), this year, has stockpiled 10-12% of the products in high demand and selling those at fair prices. Additional crowds have already been noticed at TCB's outlets to buy oil, sugar, onion, gram, etc.