Shaista Khan was a renowned Mughal subedar who ruled Bengal from 1664 to 1688. It is said that during his time, eight maunds of rice could be bought with one taka. Nowadays, this sounds like pure fiction.
In the present day, the price of food and daily essentials is escalating uncontrollably, resembling a wild horse.
Currently, the exorbitant price of eggs is making daily headlines. During my childhood in the 90s, we could buy a single egg for one taka. Now, it costs 15 taka per egg.
Eggs have gained recognition as an affordable source of protein for people with lower and middle incomes.
However, the market situation indicates that eggs have become an expensive food item now. Consequently, it has become difficult for these segments of the population to afford and consume eggs daily. They are forced to compromise on their daily protein intake, which undoubtedly has a long-term health impact.
According to the Department of Livestock Services, egg production has been increasing every year. Even in the last fiscal year (2022-23), egg production exceeded demand. Nevertheless, the reality is that prices are still rising.
On the other hand, the Breeders Association of Bangladesh (BAB) claims that the daily demand for eggs in our country is 5 crore, while production stands at 4 crore.
Related businessmen are asserting that the shortage of production and the price hike of poultry feed in the international market are the main reasons for the soaring egg prices.
There is a Bangla proverb that says, "Jato Dosh, Nanda Ghosh", which means whatever happens, Nanda Ghosh is to blame. In other words, there is always a scapegoat to point at.
Now businessmen are attributing the rising prices of every product to the Russia-Ukraine war. Social media is rife with memes related to this issue, humorously suggesting that the Russia-Ukraine war has made hens uncomfortable and unable to lay eggs, resulting in the price hike. Then there are users posting pictures of rice and eggs and jokingly showing that they now consider themselves "rich" because they can still afford eggs as a curry.
There are allegations that an evil syndicate is manipulating the egg market and is the main cause behind this artificial crisis and the soaring prices. Unfortunately, no effective actions have been taken against this so-called powerful syndicate.
Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi has stated that if necessary, egg imports will be allowed in coordination with the fisheries and livestock ministry. However, Fisheries and Livestock Minister SM Rezaul Karim opposes the idea of importing eggs. It is evident that the two government ministers hold differing positions regarding the issue of egg import.
The unfortunate reality is that we, the common people, are bearing the brunt of this situation. Meanwhile, an evil syndicate is profiting at the expense of ordinary citizens.
We find ourselves completely helpless in this mess and are struggling to understand why a simple product like an egg has transformed into a "luxury" food item. We don't expect food prices to be as low as those during Shaista Khan's era, but we do anticipate reasonable food prices.
We want to have affordable eggs back on our plates every day. Is this an unreasonable demand?
Saiful Samin is senior Sub-Editor, Prothom Alo. He may be contacted at