Tea prices climbed up by Tk 30 per 400 gram-packet and by Tk 50-60 per 1 kilogram-packet in the retail market due to the price hike at the weekly auction, according to tea traders claiming some extra pennies from the consumers.
Retailers in the capital claimed that the local companies increased the price from Tk 380 to Tk 390 per kg for different brands.
The price of 400 grams of tea of local brands or loose tea used in roadside tea stalls has increased to Tk 180 which is almost Tk 15 more than the previous price, according to the owners of such tea stalls.
Tea traders say, the bidding price is pretty high this year and therefore, local companies have raised the price in the retail markets.
The World Bank, however, claimed that the tea prices did not increase in the global market.
It is said that the local companies have been stocking tea at high prices as production has declined this year.
Referring to a popular tea brand, Zakir Hossain, a retailer of Haji Mizan Store in the capital’s Karwan Bazar area, told Prothom Alo, “The maximum retail price (MRP) of each packet of 400 grams of the brand is Tk 200 that we would sell for Tk 190. The MRP was Tk 168 a few days ago."
Another owner of a grocery shop in Mirpur area said that the local companies slowed down supply of tea before the price hike.
Notably, these local companies purchase tea in auction, process and package them to sell all over the country.
Despite the price hike, the cost of tea remains the same in tea stalls. The extra cost being is adjusted from their profit, claimed Motaher Hossain, owner of a tea stall in Karwan Bazar area.
As per Bangladesh Tea Board, there are 164 registered tea gardens in the country. Total tea production in the gardens was 78.95 million kg in 2017, which was nearly 7 per cent less compared to the previous year. The production was 80 million kg in 2016.
The production, however, till August this year is 42.8 million kg which is higher than last year. The production target this year is even higher than the actual production of last year.
Local companies show a robust demand for tea during the monsoon due to the rich quality of leaf during this season.
Bangladeshi tea fetched an average of Tk 253 per kg till August this year, compared with Tk 204 at the previous sale in 2017-18 fiscal.
Four to five big companies had been hoarding large quantities of raw tea as they feared that the production would not be able to meet the demand of tea, said the vice president of Bangladesh Tea Traders Association Md Yusuf.
“The price per kg including import duty of good quality tea is now Tk 400,” he kept on saying, “They found it more reasonable to purchase within the country.”
There was a time when Bangladesh would bring in considerable revenue through tea export. Now it imports tea. According to the tea board, 85.9 million kg of tea was consumed in the country in 2017. Production was less than that.