Spike in flour, sugar prices adds to consumer woes

Shining BD Desk || Shining BD

Published: 11/16/2022 7:27:07 AM

Thanks to the negligence of the authorities, flour and sugar prices have risen abnormally, causing hardship for middle- and low-income groups.

Due to population growth and changing food habits, wheat and wheat-based food items have been in high demand in the country for the last few years.

The decline in wheat production has led to a heightened dependence on imports and an increase in import cost to ensure the country's food security.

India, a major wheat supplier to Bangladesh, imposed an indefinite ban on wheat exports on May 13 to ensure a smooth supply of essentials at home. The war between Russia and Ukraine has made the international food market volatile since February.

There has been a gradual increase in the price of coarse and fine flour (atta and maida) each week on the local market.

Trading Corporation of Bangladesh (TCB) reports that atta price has increased by 80.88 per cent in a year, packet atta price has increased by 62.65 per cent, loose flour price has increased by 66.67 per cent, and packet flour price has increased by 61.22 per cent.

In a week, loose atta price rose by 4.24 percent and sold at Tk 60 to 63 per kg; packet atta price increased by 7.14 percent and sold at Tk 65 to 70 per kg; and packet flour price increased by 1.5 percent and sold at Tk 78 to 80 per kg.

Loose atta was Tk 36-45 per kg, packet atta was Tk 45-48 per kg, loose flour was Tk 58-60 per kg and packet flour was Tk 60-65 per kg on May 13.

Market insiders said low wheat imports contributed to high prices for wheat, flour and other foods made from flour in the country. 

Food secretary Ismiel Hossain said they are doing their best to speed up letter of credit (LC) openings.

Sugar, another essential item, has disappeared from the market due to its skyrocketing price.

According to TCB data, sugar prices rose 45.16 percent in a year and 21.62 percent in a month.

Even though sufficient quantities of unrefined sugar are imported to meet the country's demand, the price continues to rise.

The disruption in refining due to gas and power shortages, according to industry insiders, is responsible for sugar's price hike. A government-set price of Tk 90 per kg of sugar is being sold for more than Tk120 per kg. This is a huge increase from the price of Tk 78-82 per kg on May 13.

City Group's director Biswajit Saha said they can only produce 50 per cent of their regular capacity due to gas and electricity shortages.

It is estimated that Bangladesh consumes 19 lakh tonnes of sugar per year, or 1.58 lakh tonnes per month, according to the Tariff Commission and the Bangladesh Sugar and Food Industries Corporation (BSFIC).

In the first four months (July-October) of FY 2022-23, private mills imported 7.86 lakh tonnes of sugar, or 1,96,500 tonnes per month.



By Daily Sun 

Shining BD