The price of ginger has shot up at Chattogram's Khatunganj, the largest wholesale market of consumer goods in the country, just a few days before Eid-ul-Adha. Over three days, the price of ginger imported from China has increased by up to Tk30 per kilogramme.
In different warehouses of Khatunganj, ginger imported from China is being sold at Tk130-132 per kilogramme. On Thursday, the price was Tk100-103 per kilogramme. The market has been flooded with Chinese ginger because of a scarcity of local ginger.
Businessmen said the prices of spices plummeted before Eid this year. However, there is a sudden scarcity of ginger on the market.
Warehouse owners and importers have been accusing each other for the soaring price of ginger.
"The warehouses are filled with imported ginger ahead of Eid. The importers have sold the products to the warehouse owners. Now the warehouse owners are increasing the price," said Omar Faruq Siddique, owner of importing agency Siddique and Sons.
Solaiman Badsha, former chairman of Khatunganj Warehouse Owners Association, said, "The price of ginger has increased because of the market tricks of some importers. The importers have stopped the supply of ginger on the market. As a result, a scarcity of ginger has been created on the market."
According to the Bangladesh Trade and Tariff Commission, the country has a demand of three lakh tonnes of ginger annually. In 2018-19, around one lakh 29 thousand tonnes of ginger were produced in Bangladesh. The amount was one lakh 73 thousand tonnes – excluding rotten ginger. As a result, 42 to 45 percent of the demand was needed to be imported.
Due to its quality and size, the demand for Chinese ginger is higher on the market than for local varieties. That is why most importers import ginger from China.
According to the National Board of Revenue, around 60 percent of the ginger imported through sea routes is Chinese.
Sayed Sagir Ahmad, general secretary of the Khatunganj Trade and Industries Association, told The Business Standard, "The price of ginger increased in March after the novel coronavirus hit China. After that the market price was normal. The price even dropped to Tk100 per kilogramme. The price was not supposed to rise before Eid, but suddenly it has soared."
Some customers have accused dishonest businessmen for the sudden rise of the ginger price before Eid-ul-Adha.
Ahmad Musa, a private job holder living in the Baklia area of Chattogram, said, "We thought the price of spices would not increase before Eid due to the novel coronavirus pandemic this year. However, some greedy businessmen have increased the price."
Consumers Association of Bangladesh (CAB) has urged the administration to take strict measures to control the price of ginger.
SM Najer Hussain, vice president of CAB, said, "Some businessmen have been increasing the price of ginger to make extra profit. They did the same in March. At that time, the mobile court took action against some dishonest businessmen and controlled the price. The administration must take action again."