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Onion price shoot up in Sylhet

32Onion prices have reached a record high of Tk 60 a kilogram on the back of a supply crunch in Sylhet, the country’s main source of the vegetable.A key cooking ingredient, it experienced a price hike of around 43 percent over the past two weeks due to heavy rainfall in the neighbouring country, which ended up destroying  the majority of the crops.Traders are now tipping the prices to rise further in the coming weeks, given the dire supply situation in India, where the vegetable is selling at Rs 70 (Tk 101) a kg. On the other hand, the tight supply of locally-grown onions is not helping matters: farmers and stockists are being slow in releasing their stock upon expectations of higher prices. Although latest data of annual demand and local production are not available, traders and agriculturists say around 5-6 lakh tonnes are imported a year to meet the shortfall. ‘We may have to wait until next month for prices to cool off, as supply may increase then due to harvests in south India,’ said Kacha Miah an importer at Sylhet. Meanwhile, the skyrocketing prices have made some importers, said Asab Uddin, an onion importer and wholesaler based in Sylhet. ‘We are afraid that people may reduce their onion consumption in the face of high prices. We might be left counting huge losses, as imported onions, in the end, have very short shelf-life.’