POST TIME: 16 November, 2019 01:13:55 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 16 November, 2019 12:26:43 PM
Records keep tumbling as onion hits Tk 250 per kg
Govt to bring onions by cargo planes on emergency basis

Records keep tumbling as onion hits Tk 250 per kg

Onion prices in kitchen market kept breaking records, with each kilo having a price tag of as high as Tk. 240 to 250 in some places yesterday. In the kitchen market at New Market, the local variety of onions was being sold at Tk. 250 per kilo yesterday (Friday). On an average, the price of each kilo of onion was Tk. 220 to Tk. 240 in most of the kitchen markets.

Many customers believe that a section of unscrupulous traders were taking advantage of lax monitoring by the government and are pushing up the prices of this key cooking ingredient. “The government has been saying that it would take measures to control onion prices, but the market reflects otherwise,” said Nihad Ferdous, a banker who was shopping for groceries in the Jhigatola kitchen market.

“It seems that if I don’t buy onions today because of the high price tag, then I’ll have to fork out even more the next day. When will the government rein in this uncontrollable upward trend in onion prices?” asked a frustrated Nihad.

Mahadi Abdur Rauf, a doctor who usually shops for his groceries from Swapno outlet in Dhanmondi, believes the government and the media are partly responsible for this spurt in the prices of onions. “Every time the government says the price will be controlled and the media reports it, the prices become higher,” he said.

Arafat Hossain, a wholesale trader at Karwan Bazar, told The Independent that they do not have any option but to jack up the price. “We buy five kilos of local onion at Tk. 1,175, so we don’t have any option but to sell those at Tk. 1,200 per pall (five kilos).”

Five kg of imported (Myanmarese) onions were selling between Tk. 950 and Tk. 1,000 and five kg of onions from Turkey were selling at Tk. 900 to Tk. 950 in the capital’s largest kitchen market.

Bashir Ahmed, a wholesaler at Karwanbazar, said “Even though onions are being imported from Myanmar, Turkey and Egypt following the export ban by India, the volume of imports is still insignificant to cater to the domestic demand.”

“We have a supply shortage. Indian onions are not coming, while the local variety is scarce in the market. Besides, it takes a long time for onions to come from Turkey and Egypt,” said wholesale trader Imam Hossen at Shyambazar.

On Thursday, terming the crisis “artificial”, senior lawmakers of the Treasury and Opposition benches came down heavily on the government in Parliament

for failing to check the skyrocketing onion prices. They said people were suffering and the government’s failure to bring down the prices of the daily essential commodity would trigger negative reactions from the people. The MPs, taking the floor on points of order, said there was “no shortage” of onions in the market and the crisis had been artificially created.

Meanwhile, the government has decided to bring onions by cargo planes on an emergency basis. Commerce secretary Dr Zafar Ahmed yesterday (Friday) said that the government will bring the onions from Turkey through the Trading Corporation of Bangladesh (TCB). In the private sector, the S Alam Group will import onions from Egypt.

The government and the S Alam Group will continue to import onions from these two countries until the onion market stabilises, said the commerce secretary.