Despite a drop of prices in the wholesale spice market, retailers are still charging customers high for items like raisins, cumin, cloves and cardamom. Prices of some spices dropped by as much as Tk 150 a kg a month ago, according to data gathered by The Daily Star.
However, visiting Karwan Bazar, Palassy and Moulvibazar, a huge price discrepancy between wholesale and retail prices was noticed.
Traders at Moulvibazar, a key wholesale market in the capital, sold cloves for Tk 1,400-1,480 a kg yesterday, which was Tk 1,550-1600 a month ago.
But cloves in retail were Tk 1,700-1,800 a kg, the same price asked for a month ago.
Wholesalers cut cardamom prices to Tk 1,550 a kg from Tk 1,700 last month but retailers kept the prices unchanged at Tk 2,400 a kg.
Raisins were selling at wholesale for Tk 320-330 a kg, down from Tk 360-370, since last month. Retail customers, however, have to pay the same old price of Tk 450 a kg.
Price of cumin rose at wholesale. Traders at Moulvibazar were selling Turkish cumin for Tk 440 a kg, up from Tk 420 a month ago.
The retailers were sticking to Tk 500-550 a kg.
Cinnamon price went up in wholesale as well. It was selling for Tk 214 a kg, up from Tk 205 a month ago.
In this case too retailers did not change the price of Tk300-350 a kg.
Price of black pepper went up to Tk 820 a kg from Tk 800 a month ago. The retailers were still charging Tk 1,000-1,100 each kg.
Atiqul Haque, general secretary of Bangladesh Paikary Gorom Moshallah Babosayee Samity, said the prices of spices have declined slightly thanks to a price fall in the international market.
He blamed some unscrupulous traders for smuggling in a huge amount of spices from India, he said. He said dodging taxes they were keeping the prices low.
Traders cited higher wastage of items, higher transport costs, and high shop rent behind the retail and wholesale price gap.
A trader at Palassy Bazar said wastage of some spices was higher than other grocery items.
“We get around 80 pieces of good nutmeg out of 100 pieces,” said Md Amin, proprietor of Amin Store at Palassy Bazar.
He said a trader has to bear 10 percent loss in waste in a kg of cinnamon, compelling the trader to charge higher.
-With The Daily Star input