POST TIME: 9 December, 2019 01:11:02 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 9 December, 2019 10:08:11 AM
Local, old onions still sell for up to Tk 230 per kg
Prices of imported varieties range between Tk 100 and Tk 210 per kg

Local, old onions still sell for up to Tk 230 per kg

The prices of some imported onions had dropped, but local newly harvested and old onions were still selling at high rates in the capital’s kitchen markets yesterday. Although the price of local onions was lower than last week’s rate, the bulb was still selling at above Tk 200 per kg in the kitchen markets of Dhaka. On a visit to the markets, The Independent found that local onions were selling for between Tk 200 and Tk 230 per kg in the retail market and imported varieties for between Tk 100 and Tk 210 per kg. The prices of Egyptian and Chinese onions dropped by Tk 10–20 per kg in the last three to four days.

Chinese onions sold for Tk 100–110 per kg and Egyptian onions for Tk 120, said Khalilur Rahman, a retail trader at Mirpur’s Muslim Bazar kitchen market. Onions imported from Myanmar were priced at Tk 220 per kg, local old onions at Tk 230 per kg, and local immature onions at Tk 190 per kg. Since the prices remain high despite the availability of different types of onions from several countries, sales of the bulb have reduced to a large extent.

Kashem, a wholesaler at Karwan Bazar, said: “Although the demand for domestic onions is high, their sales have declined sharply. I can’t even sell a sack of onions each day, despite having sold 40 to 50 sacks a day in the past. With the prices going up, people have reduced their consumption of onions to a great extent.”

To keep onion prices in check, the government has been importing the staple ingredient by air and sea. It has also been selling onions through its trading arm, the Trading Corporation of Bangladesh (TCB), at Tk 45 per kg at select locations across the country.

Several businesses have also been importing onions from China, Egypt, Turkey, Myanmar, and Pakistan.

Ratan Chandro, an importer at Shyambazar in Dhaka, said: “The supply of old onions, which were sold at the highest prices, is almost exhausted. This situation will continue for at least 10 more days. Then, the prices of all types of onions will drop to below Tk 100 per kg.”

Last week, commerce minister Tipu Munshi said onion prices would stabilise within the first week of December once the imported and local onions hit the market. “Huge quantities of imported onions will be reaching the markets within the next 10 days. It costs Tk 32 per kg for onions to reach the port. These will be sold at a maximum of Tk 60 per kg. Besides, local onions will also hit the market during this time,” he added.

However, the impact of the massive imports and the arrival of local onions is yet to be felt as onions are still selling at high prices. According to the commerce ministry, 4,159 tonnes of onion were imported through different ports on Thursday alone. The ministry said that the imports would continue until the supply and prices of onions reach normal levels.