Buthidaung, Arakan State: The prices of essential items including sugar, onions, rice, vegetables, oil, and meat, have increased further in the markets of northern Arakan including Maungdaw and Buthidaung townships, said a trader from Buthidaung Town.

“The prices of commodities in Maungdaw and Buthidaung townships are only a little different.”

“The price of edible oil, however, has maintained the previous week’s price, which was already higher than the usual prices. One kilogram of edible oil from a local, popular brand, including mustard oil from Mandalay, was selling for between 17,000 to 18,000 kyats in the market yesterday. It was previously sold for between 11,500 to 12,000 kyats.”

When a man from the area paid a visit to the market of Buthidaung town on July 25, it was found that medium rice was selling at 21,000 kyats per 50 kilogram bag, and lower coarse rice at 20,000 kyats per bag, while it was sold for 12,000 to 10,000 kyats per bag respectively before the recent flooding in northern Arakan.

Garlic was selling at 2,000 kyats per kilogram, while it was being sold at 1,500 kyats before the floods. The price of ginger went up between 800 to 900 kyats per kilogram. Onions were being sold at 800 kyats per Viss (one Viss = 1.64 kg), while they were sold for only 600 kyats before the floods. 

However, the prices of fish and meat are stable in the market. One Viss of beef was selling at 7,000 kyats (without bones), and a Viss of beef with bones was being sold for 6,000 kyats, with mutton at 3,000 kyats per kilogram at Buthidaung, said a local elder.

“Potatos are being sold at 500 kyats per kilogram while it was only 200 kyats two weeks ago. A kilogram of good quality dried chili is being sold for 3,000 kyats, while it was earlier sold for only 1,500 kyats, and a Mound (40 kg) of turmeric was selling at 140,000 kyats, while it was 120,000 kyats before the floods. A kilogram of sugar was being sold at 1,600 kyats while it was only 1,000 kyats before the flooding in both Maungdaw and Buthidaung townships.”

In Maungdaw Township, 100 pieces of big bamboo are being sold for 50,000 kyats while it was 15,000 kyats only before the floods. Other small bamboos are being sold for 20,000-to-30,000 kyats per 100, said a bamboo trader from Maungdaw.

A kilogram of salt is being sold at 200 kyats, whereas earlier it was only 150 kyats. A Viss of molasses is being sold at 1,800 kyats, but before the recent flood it was only 1,000 kyats. A Viss of betel nut is being sold at 4,000 kyats while it was only 2,500 kyats earlier.

In order to keep the prices of essentials within the reach of the common people, the government has not taken any steps to stop the skyrocketing prices of the essentials, said a local elder from Maungdaw.