The prices of different types of leafy vegetables have increased in local markets in Dhaka. Besides, some of them are not available despite higher prices.
Retailers and wholesalers in Dhaka said that there is a shortage of leafy vegetable supply. Vegetable fields in many districts have become submerged due to the floods, which have created the shortage, they said.
This reporter visited a couple of kitchen markets in the capital, including Rampura, Badda, Gudaraghat and Karwanbazar. He found that pumpkin leaves are being sold at the highest price.
A bundle of this vegetable variety now costs between Tk50-60, whereas it was typically sold at Tk20-30 a few weeks ago.
Vendors say that there is a shortage of pumpkin leaves in the wholesale markets. So, the price is higher, and they are unable to bring it even if they wanted to.
Md Mamun, a street vegetable seller on Wapda road, said, people want to buy vegetables even if the price is high.
"But we cannot buy vegetables from the wholesale market even at a higher price," he said.
The sellers said that red amaranth is available round the year, and these are usually sold for Tk8-10 per bundle. However, buyers are unable to buy them for less than Tk20 even after a good bit of bargaining.
The sellers also said that the price of Indian spinach has also doubled. This vegetable that was sold at Tk20-25 per bundle is now sold at Tk40-50. However, in some places, the price per bundle was Tk35 as well.
Buyers say that water amaranth is one of the cheapest vegetables in the market. A pair of bundles costs Tk15 at regular times. However, the price of this vegetable has also increased in the crisis, and is now being sold for Tk18-20 per bundle.
Other leafy vegetables like stem amaranth, radish leaves are now available at a starting price of Tk20. However, the price of taro stem was relatively low in the market.
While buying vegetables in Rampura Bazar, Ariful Islam, a private company employee, said that at least three shops there used to sell vegetables.
"Only one shop is selling vegetables today (Thursday). I have been buying leafy vegetables at double the price for a month. I have also reduced the amount I buy because of the higher price," he said.
According to the Ministry of Agriculture, the floods have damaged crops in 37 districts across the country. And so far, vegetables worth Tk235 crore have been damaged.
Abdus Salam, a farmer from Jhenaidah, cultivates Indian spinach.
"Floods have destroyed vegetable fields in many places. So, despite the demand for vegetables, the supply has decreased. We are getting some benefit from this. I used to sell vegetables for Tk4-5, but now I am selling them for Tk8-10," Said Abdus Salam.
And Dhaka residents are buying Indian spinach for Tk35-40 as they arrive in the capital after travelling to several places.
Monowar Hossain, an agricultural officer of Chapainawabganj, told The Business Standard, "Floods have had a lesser impact in Rajshahi. However, a key reason for the vegetable price increase is that large quantities of vegetables are now going to different flood-affected areas in line with Dhaka," he said.
Meanwhile, the wholesalers in Dhaka claim that the supply of vegetables has halved. And it has increased the price.
Mostafa Kamal, a wholesaler in Karwan Bazar, said vegetables are scarce.
"Earlier, everyone used to try to send the vegetables to Dhaka. Now the demand has increased in flood-affected areas adjacent to the vegetable production areas," he said.
Not only leafy vegetables, but the other vegetables are also being sold at a higher price for a long time.
Buyers say that most other vegetables are now sold between Tk70-100. For about a month, a kilogram of green chili has been sold at TK160-200.
Meanwhile, the price of rice went up again a week ago. The price has increased by Tk2-3 per kilogram.