Most essential commodities are beyond the reach of the common people. If chicken, egg, beef and fish are too pricey to afford, they go to the section of the kitchen market where vegetables are sold. But now vegetables are also out of their reach. Consider the case of tomato. You have already experienced the hotness of chilli so much so that satirical cartoons on chilli as a gift item appeared in the social and print media. Now it is tomato’s turn. Could anyone ever imagine that one kilogramme (kg) of tomato would sell at a forbidden price of Tk 320? In fact, it was between Tk 290 and Tl 320 a kg, according to a report in the printed version of this paper published on Saturday. Obviously, the report was about the price of tomato on the previous day, Friday. But on Thursday, the price of a kg of tomato ranged between Tk 240 and Tk 260. That is about a jump by Tk 50 to Tk 60 per kg within the span of 24 hours! But seeing tomato market’s volatility, the reporter even feared its price might go further up.
Why is tomato so dear though it is not a staple item? The traders, as usual had not dearth of excuses to advance in support of the exorbitant price of the popular vegetable used about universally in the preparation of salads and in other curries. Their arguments went like this. First, as it is a winter vegetable, its supply is limited in summer. Also, that the storage facilities to preserve a perishable item like tomato are few. So, there is a supply crisis that is pushing its price up. Even the import price of tomato, the traders said, rose by Tk 200 per kg as the item’s price has surged in India where it is being imported from, the traders informed.
However, the Consumer Association of Bangladesh thinks the government should look into the gulf of difference between tomato’s import price and the one prevailing in the retail market; and take necessary action to bring the price within the consumers’ reach.