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16 July, 2019 12:51:44 AM
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Onion prices high due to ‘artificial crisis’

UNB, Dhaka
Onion prices high due to ‘artificial crisis’

The prices of onion and green chili have doubled in kitchen markets of the capital in a week due to “short supply and inclement weather” amid high demand ahead of Eid-ul-Azha.

Traders said they were selling the essential items at higher prices as they had to buy those at increased prices.

However, rights activists and common people blamed a section of dishonest traders for the price hike, saying they have created an artificial crisis through stockpiling onion ahead of Eid-ul-Azha for extra profits.

Visiting several kitchen markets in the city, this correspondent found that local variety of onion was selling at Tk 50-60 while imported one at Tk 40-45 per kg. The price of green chili ranged from Tk 120 to Tk 130 per kg.

Meanwhile, four pieces of eggs are selling at Tk 42 in the kitchen market against last week’s Tk 32.

Traders said there was a hike in the onion price following its increase in India, the main source of onion import, and the prevailing inclement weather.

“Supply shortage amid inclement weather is the main reason behind the price hike. The prices of onion and green chili have gone up suddenly due to the bad weather. Besides, some businesses have stockpiled onion to make quick buck ahead of Eid-ul-Azha,” said Shafiul Alam, a shopkeeper at Bangshal in Old Dhaka.

He said they were selling local onion at Tk 55-60 per kg while the imported one at Tk 40-45 compared to Tk 30-35 and Tk 20-25 respectively a week ago.

Besides, green chili was selling at Tk 120-130 against Tk 60-70 last week, he said.

Mohammad Hafiz, an onion importer at Dhaka’s Shyambazar, said the prices have seen a slight rise due to the short supply for inclement weather. “Besides, India has hiked the import prices, casting an impact on Bangladesh market.”

“Now, the market prices mostly depend on India. If they increase prices in the future, it can further be increased here,” he said.

Hafiz said they imported onion at Tk 26-28 per kg from India on Sunday and sold it in Dhaka’s markets at Tk 29-30. “We’ve nothing to do if retailers sell it at an inflated price.”

According to state-run Trading Corporation of Bangladesh (TCB), local onion was sold at Tk 45-50 per kg while imported one at Tk 35-45 on Sunday.

The prices of farm eggs have increased to Tk 38-40 from Tk 35-38 last week, the TCB data showed.

Consumers are bearing the brunt of the skyrocketing onion prices.

Rabeya Akhter, a housewife who lives at Shantinagar, said she bought onion and green chili at doubled prices compared to the last week. Besides, she bought eggs at Tk 40 per four pieces which was Tk 32 a week ago. “We’ve no alternative but to buy those at higher prices as those are essential items,” she said, adding that the government should take strict measures so that general people do not suffer.

SM Nazer Hossain, Vice-president of Consumer Association of Bangladesh (CAB), told the news agency that a syndicate is involved behind the hike in onion prices. “They’re stockpiling the item ahead of Eid-ul-Azha. Besides, the prices of spices see a rise during eid as many resort to seasonal businesses during the religious festival.”

“We’ve to look for alternative markets to India so that there’s no impact on our markets when the prices are increased in the neighbouring country. At the same time, local production should be boosted even after giving incentives to farmers so that they get encouraged to cultivate onions,” he said.

Nazer also underscored the need for proper market monitoring by the government, saying it can help control the prices.

He said small poultry farmers are facing challenges due to increase in various costs. “They don’t avail of any facility from the government like big farmers. So, many small farms have been closed, affecting the egg market.”

EA

 

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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