Fresh price hike of essentials adds to the grim plight of low-income people

Amid the struggle to cope with the record hike in edible oil prices, a fresh surge in prices of other daily essentials has dealt a further blow to those with low incomes. Lentils have seen their prices go up by Tk 20 per kg over the last week, while eggs have also become more expensive. The price of commodities like powder milk, flour, and spices also saw a rise over the same period. Retailers and wholesalers fear that the price of these import-dependent items will increase further due to the supply disruption caused by the Russia-Ukraine war.
The price of lentils (big grain), a good source of protein for the poor, shot up to Tk 100 from Tk 80-85 a week ago, while the lentils (small grain) price rose to Tk 130 per kg from Tk 120 at different kitchen markets in the capital. The price of powdered milk shot up by Tk 70 to Tk 710 per kg. Due to the war, lentils import has been disrupted. The price of eggs, another good source of protein, also went up by Tk 1 per piece with a dozen eggs now sold for Tk 120 at different kitchen markets in the capital. Moreover, the prices of chicken, beef, and mutton show no signs of dropping after the hikes during Ramadan.
According to the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics, the overall food inflation rate rose to 6.34 percent in March from 5.60 percent in January. In rural areas, the food inflation rate was 6.71 percent and 5.49 percent in urban areas in March. The price of flour also shot up to Tk 48 per kg from Tk 40 in January this year. The increase in the price of eggs, flour, and edible oil has impacted the price of baked items in restaurants.
People with fixed incomes have been forced to curtail consumption, despite spending extra on food. The low-income people are undergoing hardship to ensure two-time meals with reduced items. The marginalized people who live just up the poverty line have fallen back under poverty in terms of daily nutrition intake. The middle class failed to save anything from their income and in many cases; they are spending their old savings to meet their daily demands. Seemingly, there is no authority to manage the consumers’ market and make the market stable by injecting local commodities or importing from alternative sources.