Prices of other varieties shoot up
Stocks of Chinese garlic and ginger have run out of markets and created a supply shortage, prompting the traders to increase the prices of other varieties of two key cooking ingredients.
The shortage was due to import postponement from China, the largest source for the two spices, amid deadly coronavirus outbreak.
Visiting several retail markets, it was found that the Chinese spices were found in very limited quantity and they were selling at exorbitant prices.
A kg of Chinese garlic was retailing at Tk200-230 a kg, which was earlier Tk130-140 in the city’s kitchen markets. Besides, local verity of the spice was selling at Tk150-180 per kg, up by Tk40-50.
Prices of other verities of ginger also went up by Tk20-40 a kg and were selling between Tk150-and Tk 180 a kg in the retail markets.
Al Amin Miya, a retailer at Shukrabad kitchen market said; “There is a supply shortage of garlic for the last one month. So, the prices of the spices increased.”
"Customers avoid Chinese items and opt for the local ones," said another retailer Mizanur Rahm at Rampura kitchen market, adding that supply of the local item, on the other hand, was inadequate to meet the demand.
GS Manik, a Shymbazar- based wholesaler said the country was heavily dependent on China for the spices, especially for garlic.
"The imports from the country remained suspended for the last one month due to the virus outbreak," he said.
He said a crisis of the spices persisted as the local verities alone could not meet the consumers’ demand.
The wholesalers said the importers were looking for alternative destinations over China and started importing ginger from neighboring India.
"But they have yet to find any suitable alternatives for sourcing garlic," he added.
Manik, however, hoped that the shortage of ginger might go within the next few days; despite that the local spice market was overwhelemly depended on Chinese supply.
Meanwhile, importers said they restarted opening letters of credit (LCs) for importing the spices from China from the current week.
“We did not import a single kg of ginger from China since the first week of January as demands for China-produced ginger declined to a great extent in the market over the fear of the deadly virus ," said Mohammad Mazed, an importer and Vice-President of the Shyambazar Bonik Somiti.
"Since February 17, we started official process to import garlic and ginger from China again," said Mazed.
He, however, said that it might take one month to get imported Chinese in the country.
The fear of the novel coronavirus was reducing day by day, believed Mazed.