POST TIME: 18 September, 2019 12:26:37 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 18 September, 2019 11:53:37 AM
TCB starts onion OMS in capital

TCB starts onion OMS in capital

People yesterday queue up in the back of a TCB truck-mounted shop for purchasing onion, prices of which shot up in the country due to the recent export ban by India. The snap was shot from the road stretch in front of the National Press Club in Dhaka. Focus Bangla Photo

The government started selling onion at Tk 45 per kg through the state-owned Trading Corporation of Bangladesh (TCB) yesterday. It is being done to control prices of this widely consumed item in the local market.

Commerce secretary Mohammed Zafaruddin announced that the government has decided to import onion from Turkey, Myanmar and China to improve the supply and bring down the prices.

Onion prices surged overnight after traders hiked rates in the wake of restrictions imposed by India on shipments of onion to other countries to contain its domestic prices.

The TCB started selling onion at a subsidised rate at five spots in Dhaka, where one can buy a maximum of two kilos. The sale will be carried out from trucks in front of the National Press Club, Dilkhusha Bok Chattar in Motijheel, in Khamarbari, Mohammadpur, and Mirpur.

“Although the sale was scheduled to begin from 10am, it began at 9am in many places,” said TCB spokesperson Humayun Kabir.

“The number of spots will increase gradually,” he added.

The decision to sell onion in the open market was taken on Sunday. The meeting was chaired by commerce minister Tipu Munshi.

The government decided to sell onion in the open market to curb its skyrocketing prices.

Both local and Indian onions sold at Tk. 80 per kg in different kitchen markets in Dhaka, with a maximum hike of Tk. 30 per kg which prompted the government to sell through the TCB.

The prices have gone up due to India’s decision to curb exports. The country is the major source for the item for Bangladesh.

The Ministry of Commerce has sent a letter to the Bangladesh Bank to take steps to reduce the LC margin and interest rate in onion imports.

In addition, a letter has been sent to the authorities concerned in the ports to expedite release of imported onions and ensure smooth transport.

After a meeting with stakeholders at his office, commerce secretary Mohammed Zafaruddin announced that onion would be imported from Turkey, Myanmar and China.

In order to control onion price hike in the domestic market, the Indian government has fixed MEP at USD 850 per ton, which took effect on Friday. It is a significant jump from the previous MEP of USD 250-300 a ton.

“The price of a tonne of onion was USD 380-400 last week, which increased to USD 850. As a result, prices of imported onion in the kitchen market rose sharply,” onion importer Mohammad Hafiz told Dhaka Tribune.

Besides, production of onion has been less compared to the previous year.

The production also fell in India, Hafiz said, adding that bad weather hampered preservation of onion.

Anil Thakur, an Indian onion exporter, said that the recent flash floods in several Indian states disrupted onion cultivation, which resulted in very low yield. “This led to onions being sold at Rs 50 per kg across India, which reflects a huge rise in onion prices. The government intends to control the local onion prices, and discourage its export to Bangladesh for the time being,” he added.

The sudden decision by the Indian Agricultural Product Regulatory Authority on Friday to raise onion export price to USD 852 per ton has badly affected the Bangladeshi market. Earlier, each tonne of onion was imported at USD 300-410.

The onion price in the retail markets of Bangladesh rose by Tk. 30 per kg within three days.