Only three months after peaking at a record price of Tk1,000 per kilogramme, green chilli prices are once again soaring in Chattogram, shooting up by Tk160 within a week.
Currently, green chillies are being sold at a price range of Tk190 to Tk280 per kg – up from Tk100-120 last week – in many kitchen markets in the port city, according to retailers.
Traders blame a steep fall in supply caused by untimely rain for the sudden price surge.
"The price of raw chillies has suddenly increased due to reduced supply. A total of 250 grams of green chillies is now being sold at Tk60, up from Tk30. A kg of green chillies now cost Tk260," Nayeem Islam, a vegetable trader at Kazir Deuri Kitchen Market, said.
"As the price has increased, the sales volume has also decreased. I sold only three kg of green chillies on Sunday (October 1). Usually, I sell 8-10kg a day," he added.
Chattogram's Reazuddin Bazar is the largest wholesale market for green chillies. The essential kitchen item is brought to the market by trucks from various regions including Kushtia, Pabna, Magura, Bogra and Jamalpur. From there, the chillies are sold to retailers of Cox's Bazar and Chattogram.
According to traders at Reazuddin Bazar, usually 12 to 15 trucks of green chillies – 150 to 200 metric tonnes– arrive at the market each day. However, for the last couple of months, the number of trucks has fallen to between 7-10.
On Monday, local green chillies sold at Tk210-220 per kg at the wholesale level Reazuddin Bazar, while Indian chillies sold at Tk 200 per kg.
"Due to extreme drought and rain, chilli plants have been damaged in different parts of the country, reducing yield. There is a sudden supply shortage in the market.
As the price has increased in Mokam, traders are buying chillies at a higher price," said Farooq Shibli, general secretary of Reazuddin Bazar Artaddar Samiti.
Meanwhile, SM Nazer Hossain, president, Chattogram Division of Consumers Association of Bangladesh (CAB), has blamed the price surge on 'syndicates' and called on the government to bolster monitoring.
"Sudden surge of product prices have become a rule. The price of green chillies is being increased by syndicate. The government should increase monitoring in places where the supply of chillies is blocked. The administration should monitor the market by looking at the purchase price of green chillies," SM Nazer Hossain said.
Earlier in June, the price of green chillies suddenly increased to a record Tk1,000 per kg in some parts of the country.