Vegetable price in Dhaka doubles production costs

The farmers are getting good prices for vegetables this season, which is skyrocketing as the products change hands. It’s mounting even more pressure on the consumers

Prothom Alo illustration

Vegetable farmer Manirul Islam from Mathurapur village in the Jashore Sadar upazila sold tomatoes at Tk 30 per kg and eggplants at Tk 38 per kg at the wholesale market in Barinagar. On the same day, Tota Mia, a vegetable farmer from Khadimpur in Alamdanga upazila of Chuadanga sold eggplants at Tk 45 per kg in the Bara Bazar market in the district. Tomatoes were sold at this local market at Tk 20 to Tk 30 yesterday, Thursday.

This price of eggplants at production level reached Tk 80 to Tk 100 at the retail markets of Moghbazar, Malibagh and Shahjahanpur in Dhaka. Tomatoes were sold at Tk 50 to Tk 70 depending on the variety. Almost all vegetables are being sold at prices twice the production cost or more at the retail markets in Dhaka.

Speaking to Prothom Alo, Md Swapan, a vendor from Malibagh said, “Although vegetable prices usually fall by the mid-winter, this time it is still rising in the wholesale market. I bought broccoli from the wholesale market at Tk 40 per kg on Wednesday. The price rose to Tk 70 the next day.”

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The price of medium-sized cauliflower was Tk 50 to Tk 60 per piece in three of the markets in Dhaka while big cauliflowers were being sold at Tk 80 per piece Thursday. Cabbages were sold at Tk 50 to 60. Beans were sold at Tk 60 to 80 depending on the quality and the price of broccoli was Tk 70 to 80. And a good quality gourd was sold at a rate of Tk 100 to 120 per piece. Prices of only three of the winter vegetables – papaya, radish and turnip, are below Tk 50 even during the peak season this year.

Analysing the prices of vegetables in the wholesale markets of Jashore, Chuadanga and Bogura, it has been found that beans were sold at a rate of Tk 25 to 30 per kg, cauliflowers at Tk 28 to 30 per piece and gourds were being sold at a rate of Tk 45 to 50. The prices of other vegetables, including papaya, turnip, radishes and bitter gourd, are half the prices at the retail markets in Dhaka or even lower.

People concerned claim that the rate of vegetables at the production level is higher than last year due to the rise in the production cost. However, the farmers are satisfied with the price they are getting this season. The overall vegetable production also has fallen this year, they say.

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Vegetable farmer Inarul Haque from the Alokdia union of the Chuadanga Sadar upazila told Prothom Alo, “Last year I harvested 12 types of vegetables on three and a half bighas of land, but it was costly. So I cultivated only three vegetables this season. However, the prices are good this year. Gourds are being purchased directly from the fields at Tk 40 apiece, which was Tk 5 to 8 last year.”

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According to the sources in the office of the deputy director of the Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE) in Chudanga, winter vegetables were cultivated on some 8,460 hectares of land last year. However, the size of land used to grow vegetables dwindled to 8,080 hectares this year.

Apart from the low production, the increase in the price at every level from production to the retail market is also a major reason behind the soaring vegetable prices. As a result, vegetables are being sold at abnormal prices even during the peak season.

Speaking regarding this, Bogura district DAE deputy director Matlubar Rahman told Prothom Alo that the middlemen are selling vegetables at a rate twice or thrice the price they paid the farmers. Vegetable prices are skyrocketing even during the peak season due to syndicates. Although the production cost rose a little due to the rise in the prices of agricultural equipment, the production didn’t fall due to the favourable weather conditions this season.

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Commodity prices  remain high

Instability has emerged again in the retail markets after another phase of rise in the prices of rice. Although the government is monitoring, there is no impact. Daily essentials like flours, lentils, edible oil and sugar are stable at high prices.

The prices of fish, meat and eggs are also quite high. Per kg broiler chicken is sold at Tk 200 to 210, Sonali chicken Tk 310 to 330 and beef is sold at a rate of Tk 650 to 700 per kg.

The price of eggs has risen by Tk 5 per dozen as compared to last week. Brown eggs are sold at Tk 130 to 135 per dozen. Farmed tilapia and pangas fishes are being sold at Tk 220 to 250 per kg. The price of farmed salmon fishes is between Tk 300 to 400 depending on the size.

Speaking to Prothom Alo, Abdul Khalek of the Shahjahanpur area of the capital said, “Nothing goes down in price. Although the price of beef was lowered a little for some weeks, it has been raised again. Vegetables have never been this costly.”

[Monirul Islam from Jashore, Shah Alam from Chuadanga and Anwar Parvez from Bogura helped prepare this report with information]

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