The price of garlic shot up to Tk60 per kg in the span of just two weeks thanks to falling value of taka against the dollar and a "shortage" in supply.
On Friday a kg of the imported garlic was sold at Tk160 at Khatunganj – the largest wholesale hub for daily commodities – which was just Tk95-100 in the first week of May.
Local garlic price also hiked to Tk60-72 per kg from the earlier Tk50-60.
"At least 10 trucks of garlic used to come to Khatunganj every day, which decreased to just a truck over the last two weeks," said Balay Kumar Poddar, proprietor of Grameen Banijyalay at Khatunganj.
Increased imports might reduce the price, he added.
Importers said they had some shipments to be released within two days at the Chattogram Port which would increase the supply. However, a lower flow of imports might hike the price of the essential commodity price further.
The soaring dollar prices against taka in the last couple of weeks badly impacted imports of commodities, bringing about their price hikes. Besides, traders are blamed for manipulating prices by showing an artificial crisis.
Apart from garlic, the wholesale price of imported ginger also increased by Tk10-15 to Tk60-65 per kg, prompting traders to increase the prices of local varieties as well.
Local ginger sold at Tk30-40 a kg in Khatunganj two weeks ago, which surged to Tk40-50 on Friday.
According to the Bangladesh Trade and Tariff Commission, the country consumes some 6 lakh tonnes of garlic, of which 5 lakh tonnes are produced domestically and the rest come from abroad. The annual consumption of ginger is some 3 lakh tonnes, while nearly 42-45% is imported.
Meanwhile, the price of onion was on the rise since 6 May, as the Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE) suspended allowing the item import to protect farmers with locally-grown onion hitting the market.
On Friday, Indian varieties of onions were sold at up to Tk40 a kg at the wholesale hub, which was the highest Tk38 in last week and Tk25 two weeks ago. However, local onion prices fell to Tk25-32 per kg on the day from Tk30-34 a week ago. It was Tk26-27 two weeks ago.
"We only suspended import-permit for onions. Imports of other items, including garlic and ginger, remain normal," said Nasir Uddin, deputy director of the Plant Quarantine wing of the DAE for Chattogram seaport.