When consumers are struggling to deal with the soaring prices of essentials, the retail price of green chilli has hit a record high of Tk 700 a kg in the capital's kitchen markets.
Wholesalers at Karwan Bazar sold chilli for Tk 500 a kg yesterday. For all latest news, follow The Daily Star's Google News channel.
Just about a month ago, retailers in the capital sold green chilli for Tk 100 to Tk 120 a kg. Traders blamed supply dearth and damage to crops from bad weather for the abnormal hike in prices.
To cool down the prices, the government permitted import of green chilli ahead of Eid. But the move is yet to make any impact on prices.
The Daily Star yesterday found that traders and vendors in some areas of the capital stopped selling green chilli to avoid altercations with consumers.
Expressing frustration, Md Russel, a vegetables vendor in Gulistan, said he had to visit Karwan Bazar yesterday only to purchase green chilli for his shop. Before that, he went to Shyambazar but could not buy chilli from wholesalers who asked Tk 700 for each kg.
"I bought five kgs of green chilli for Tk 2,500 at Karwan Bazar. To make a profit, I will have to sell it for at least Tk 700 per kg."
Suruzzaman, a restaurant owner at Banglamotor, said his eatery requires three kgs of green chilli every day. After hearing about acute shortage of supply in the capital, he bought half a kg of green chilli for Tk 400 from Murapara Bazar in Sonargaon while returning to the capital from his hometown Narayanganj yesterday.
Al Amin, a vegetable vendor at Karwan Bazar, said he bought green chilli for Tk 360 a kg on Friday night and sold it for Tk 400.
Yesterday, he had to buy for Tk 500 a kg and sell it for Tk 600. A day labourer from East Tejturi Bazar wanted to buy green chilli worth Tk 10 from Al Amin. But the vendor refused to sell such a small amount. The labourer finally bought 10 chillies for Tk 20.
Ashraful Alam, a wholesaler at Karwan Bazar, said that he usually sells 500 kgs of green chilli every day. But on Friday, he managed to buy 100 kgs for Tk 350 per kg and sold it for Tk 360 per kg.
The next day, he had to purchase green chilli for Tk 550 a kg from Modhukhali Bazar in Faridpur. He was selling his Friday's unsold stock of 40 kgs yesterday.
Traders said green chilli is brought to Dhaka mainly from Faridpur, Rajshahi, and Rangpur. Previously, the bulk of the supply used to come from Nilphamari, Bogura, and Manikganj.
Yesterday, retailers in Manikganj town were selling green chilli for Tk 650 a kg.
Saidur Rahman, a wholesaler in Manikganj, said the green chilli produced in the district are sent to the different district across the country. However, the crop was damaged this year due to bad weather.
In Bagerhat's Rampal upazila, a vegetable trader in Gilatola Bazar said he refrained from buying green chilli yesterday due to high wholesale prices.
"I decided not to buy green chilli after the wholesaler asked for Tk 650 per kg," he told The Daily Star.
In Pabna, the retail price of green chilli crossed Tk 700 per kg yesterday. Wholesalers sold chillies for over Tk 600 a kg.
"Chilli cultivation was hampered this year due to bad weather. That's why the production has fallen compared to last year," said Md Idris Ali, a development officer at the Department of Agricultural Extension in Pabna.
Our correspondents in Pabna and Manikganj contributed to this report.