POST TIME: 4 November, 2019 00:00 00 AM
Call for immediate steps to control onion price

Call for immediate steps to control onion price

A syndicate has pocketed Tk 3,179 crore by manipulating the onion market in the last four months, alleges a citizens’ platform. Conscious Consumers Association (CCS) came up with the observation at a press conference at the National Press Club in the capital yesterday. It unearthed this corruption by the syndicate by analysing the information obtained through their own sources and by cross-matching the price list of onions published on the TCB (Trading Corporation of Bangladesh) website and in newspapers.

According to CCS data, the price of onions saw a 400 per cent hike in four months—from July 2 to October 31. "Consumers are being scammed in the name of a low supply and high import cost of onions. The average cost of onions imported from Myanmar is Tk. 34 per kg. The price of one kg of onions can in no way exceed Tk. 50,” said CCS executive director Palash Mahamud. CCS members said although the onion price went up exorbitantly over the past two weeks, the initial price hike had started on July 2, one month before Eid-ul-Azha.

They considered the price of onions from July 2 to October 31. The rational price of onion was fixed at Tk. 30 per kg from July to September and Tk. 50 a kg in October.

Palash Mahmud said that by raising the price of onions, the syndicate had amassed Tk. 397.67 crore in July and Tk. 491.43 crore in August. In September, the amount doubled to Tk. 825.26 crore. In October, it crossed the thousand mark to Tk. 1,464.99 crore.

According to government data, the demand for onions across the country is 24 lakh tonnes, with the local variety meeting the need of 16 lakh tonnes.

CCS put forward a set of proposals to resolve the current crisis in the onion market. The suggestions include conducting drives against the syndicate responsible for the price hike and fixing the highest possible price for onion for a certain period.

CCS also said that when India announced to raise the onion price, the very next day the price increased in Bangladesh. However, it is not possible to feel the repercussions of the Indian decision in so short a time, it noted.

The platform also mentioned that it is almost one month that India has stopped to export onions to Bangladesh, but the Indian onion is still available in the market. So, it is clear that some businessmen had bought onion earlier and had enough supplies during the crisis, it noted.

However, the price of onions is still increasing in the local market. In the last one week, the prices have soared in three steps. In most markets, the price of onions is over Tk. 150 per kg.  This hefty price tag of onions has put onions beyond the reach of the common people.