The price of hilsa, a treat Bengalis look forward to during the monsoon, is still high despite ample supply in the wholesale markets of Chandpur district.
The national fish of Bangladesh is still out of reach of the average buyers.
During a recent visit to Chandpur Boro Station fisheries ghat, this correspondent found people busy loading and unloading hilsa as 2,000-2,500 maunds of the fish are coming from the southern districts of the country every day on average.
Transportation of hilsa starts from 10 am till afternoon through trucks, pick-up vans and trawlers at the wholesale markets and some 500 workers in the ghat area are involved in loading and unloading the fish.
Hilsa, weighing 700-900 grams each, are of decent sizes too.
People from Dhaka’s Karwanbazar, Azampur, Abdullahpur, Uttara; Gazipur’s Tongi; Tangail; Kishoreganj; Jamalpur, Mymensingh; Sreemangal; and Sylhet come to the wholesale market in Chandpur and take hilsa via trucks and train.
One kg hilsa is being sold at Tk 1,500 while in the retail market it is being sold at Tk 1,800-2,000 and hilsa weighing 500-700 grams is being sold at Tk 900-1,100. The silver fish weighing 900 grams is being sold at Tk 1,400-1,500. Retail price of 1.5 kg hilsa is Tk 2,000-2,100. Some traders said they are selling hilsa at minimum profit. Many daily wage earners, who spend their entire day carrying hilsa from the ghat to the market, fail to purchase the fish due to soaring prices though supply during monsoon has increased.
Hilsa has the highest contribution in the country’s fish production as the single fish species.
Every year, the government imposes a two-month ban on catching, selling, storing and transporting hilsa to boost its production.
Abdul Bari Manik Jamadar, president of Fish Traders Association, Chandpur, said the supply of hilsa has increased over the last three days but not as much as in the previous year, and that’s why the price of hilsa is beyond the reach of the low-income people.