The minimum price of one kg of dates in retail is 240 taka and the maximum is 1 thousand 400 taka. Last year in Ramadan, this price was 160 taka and 1000 taka. This time there is a fear that the price of dates will increase further during fasting. Traders say import of dates has decreased due to high duty. However, the consumer protection department has warned that strict action will be taken if artificial crisis is created.
The sellers say that in the fiscal year 2022-23, the duty on one kg of dates of normal quality was 5 taka 45 paisa. A packet of dates was 10 taka 90 paisa. This time the duty has increased 13 times. The duty to be paid is 64 taka 42 paisa per kg of dates. And a packet of dates is 129 taka 55 paisa. This has affected the import of dates.
Chittagong Port Authority information says that usually 40 thousand tons of dates come to the country in the 6 months before fasting. But this time 14 thousand tons of dates have been released so far. However, the Consumer Rights Protection Department claims that another 35,000 tons will reach the country before fasting.
The director general of the department. H. M. Safikuzzaman said, ‘This year, our activities will continue in the most difficult position. We are already working on our Ramadan based products. 35 thousand tons of dates are waiting to be cleared from the port. Maybe a part was left out.’
Now the price of dates per kg has increased by 40 to 80 percent. Traders say that if the demand increases during fasting, the price may increase further.
A buyer who came to buy dates said, ‘There are many people who break their fast by eating two dates. This time the price of that date is very high. I am eating himsim when I come to buy dates. I am in dilemma whether to buy or not to buy.’
A date seller said, ‘The price is high, so the buyers get scared when they hear the price. Don’t buy dates anymore.’
In this situation, the businessmen have been demanding to reduce the duty on the import of dates for many days.
Fruit importer Sirajul Islam said, ‘I will bring it. Those who consume it, if it goes beyond their purchasing power, they will not buy it. How can I sell it if I don’t buy it?’
The annual demand of dates in the country is more than 100,000 tons. Of this, 50 to 60 thousand tons are taken in Ramadan.