The government has permitted traders to import green chilli from India as the price of the daily commodity item has skyrocketed in the local market.
In just a week, the price of green chilli has soared by Tk50 to Tk280 per kg in the capital while the same product is selling for Tk300 per kg in Chattogram markets, up by Tk100.
Traders have attributed the price surge to the severe heatwave in various parts of the country, followed by heavy rains and floods, which have severely disrupted the production of green chilli.
Besides, chilli import from India through Hili land port in Dinajpur has remained suspended for several months. Overall, the low supply of the cooking staple in the market has abnormally driven up the price, they said.
On Friday, Habibur Rahman, a vegetable vendor in the capital's Moghbazar area, told The Business Standard (TBS), "Before Eid-ul-Azha, green chilli were priced at Tk100 per kg. The price went up to Tk150 two days after Eid. Now, it stands at Tk280 per kg."
Green chilli is selling for Tk240-250 per kg in Riazuddin Bazar, the largest wholesale vegetable market in Chattogram. In the retail market, the price of the product has reached Tk300 per kg.
Jasim Uddin, a trader in Bahaddarhat kitchen market of Chattogram city, told TBS, "It has been raining almost every day for the last two weeks, drenching many low-lying areas that produce vegetables and items such as chilli. The price went up due to low supply."
Almas Hossain, a vegetable trader in Kazir Dewri market in Chattogram, told TBS, "Green chilli are imported from India under the supervision of the Ministry of Commerce to keep supply and price stable in local markets. But recently import of the item has declined, which triggered a supply crunch."
Laila Akhter, a garment worker who came to the market in Chattogram's Chawkbazar, told TBS, "Even a week ago, I used to buy Tk5-10 worth of green chilli for daily cooking. Now retailers are not selling it below Tk20. The prices of all daily essentials are already high, and now it has become nearly impossible to buy chilli."
Yusuf Ali, an official of Hili land port's plant pest control centre, said that green chilli were last imported from India through this port on 10 November last year.
Harun-ur-Rashid, president of the Hili Land Port Importer-Exporter Group, said, "The government allowed the import of green chilli from Thursday to stabilise the price."
"Two importers of Hili port, including myself, have already received permission to import 1,500 tonnes of chilli. More importers are awaiting approval on Sunday. The import will start from Saturday," he added.
Meanwhile, the prices of eggs, chicken and rice have increased within a week in the capital's Karwan Bazar, Moghbazar and Hatirpool kitchen markets.
Broiler chicken price has increased by Tk10 to Tk170 per kg. The price of rice has increased by Tk2-3 per kg and a dozen eggs are selling for Tk135, up by Tk10.
Ismail Sardar, salesperson at Sajid store in the Moghbazar Ambagan area, said, "Last week I bought a sack of 50kg Paijam rice at a wholesale price of Tk2,400, but today I bought it for Tk2,500. We have transportation and other costs. So we are selling the product at a retail price of Tk55 per kg."
Mohammad Dipu, a seller at Shah Departmental Store in the same area, said that the price of Nazirshail rice has increased by Tk2 per kg and is now being sold at Tk62 to Tk78 per kg, depending on quality. Miniket rice is selling for Tk66-75 and BR-28 is selling for Tk60 per kg.
Onion prices up by Tk2 a kg at Hili land port
The prices of onions went up by Tk2 per kg at the wholesale market of Dinajpur's Hili land port on Friday.
The Indor variety of onions was selling for Tk21-22 per kg on Friday, which was Tk19-20 on Thursday.
According to traders, the price went up due to a surge in demand in local markets across the country and the recent increase in the interbank exchange rate of the US dollar.
"We are importing onions from India at a higher price due to the recent dollar price hike," said Ismail Hossain, a Hili land port onion trader.
Earlier last week, onion prices at the wholesale markets of Hili started coming down amid regular supply.
"An average of 20-25 trucks of onions are being imported through the port every day. On Thursday, 684 tonnes of onions were imported on 23 trucks. Similarly, 2,601 tonnes of onions were imported on 90 trucks during the first four days of August," said Sohrab Hossain, public relations officer at Hili land port.