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Onion woes continue amid further price hike

President pushes for onion boycott to teach hoarders a lesson

Onion woes continue amid further price hike

Photo: Onion traders sleeping at Karwanbazar wholesale market for lack of buyers on Nov 18, 2019.
According to state-owned Trading Corporation of Bangladesh (TCB), local variety of the bulb was selling at Tk 180-200 per kg while the imported one at Tk 120-180 at retail market in the capital on Saturday.

However, the actual scenario at the kitchen market was completely different as local onion was selling at Tk 240-250 a kg while the imported one at Tk 150-200 per kg.

Although several consignments of onion were brought in by air, these were meant for selling through the TCB. Besides, local variety is yet to arrival at the market in large quantities, creating a supply crunch.

Meanwhile, Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi on Saturday said the onion price will come down within 10 days once the imported onions hit the market. “Imported onions are yet to be supplied to the market because of transportation problem,” he said while talking to reporters after a programme in the city.

He said some 12,000 tonnes of imported onions are expected to arrive at the Chittagong port on November 29.

The minister said Bangladesh has to import 25 percent onion to meet the local with the Indian variety accounting for 90 percent of the total import. “But unfortunately, India banned the onion export to Bangladesh on September 29 that caused the problem.”

Traders said the onion price increased further on Saturday due to a rise in demand and supply shortage as the imported onions are yet to enter the city’s kitchen markets.

Mohammad Hafiz, an onion importer at Shyambazar, said the onion price soared by Tk 5-10 due to the supply crunch. “We’re selling locally grown onion at Tk 170-180 while the Burmese one at Tk 150-160, Egyptian one at Tk 110-115 and Chinese variety at Tk 90-100 per kg,” he said, adding that they were selling Pakistani onion for Tk 160 counting a loss by Tk 10 per kg.

He also said there is no possibility of a fall in the price anytime soon until imported onions are available in large quantities.

Echoing Hafiz, Shamsur Rahman, a stockist at the same market, said the onion price might see further hike if onions are not available in the market.

Hridoy, a wholesaler at Karwanbbazar, said the onion price increased by Tk 15-20 per kg on Saturday.

He said he was selling local onion at Tk 190-195 per kg while the Burmese on at Tk 170-180, Egyptian one at Tk 110-115 and Chinese one at Tk 105-110.

Another wholesaler Moin Mia Elahi said he was selling local onion at Tk 190 per kg.

Rafique Mia, a retailer at Nazira Bazar of Bangshal, said he was selling local onion at Tk 240-250.

Asked about the exorbitant price compared to the wholesale market, he said he bought onions at a high price. “Unless my stock is finished, I’ll have to sell onion at the same rate.”

Bangladesh has been struggling to control overheated onion price which reached an all-time high in recent days after India imposed an indefinite export ban on September 29.

President for boycotting onion

President Abdul Hamid urged people to avoid using onion if its price is not within their purchasing capacity. “Onion is a perishable product. If we don’t eat onion for a month, the dishonest businessmen will be forced to sell it at a lower price,” he said while delivering his speech at the 13th Convocation of Brac University held at the city’s Army Stadium.

“The price of onion per kg was Tk 50 but it shot up to Tk 240 to 250 per kg within a span of two months. But people are still buying onion at the high price,” he said, adding that people should face the situation together and only people can stand against it.