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Onion price dips below Tk 200

STAFF REPORTER, Dhaka
Onion price dips below Tk 200

The prices of onions yesterday come down to under Tk. 200 per kg in the wholesale market.

In addition, onion prices dropped by Tk. 50 to Tk. 70 across different markets of the country, including in the capital. Visiting the markets at Karwan Bazar, Mirpur, and Shyambazar in the capital yesterday, The Independent found that local onions were selling for Tk. 150–170 per kg, onions imported from Myanmar for Tk. 140–160 per kg, and those from Egypt for Tk. 120–130 per kg. The same varieties had sold for between Tk. 180 and Tk. 200 the previous day.


Onion traders and market officials said that new local onions had begun to appear in the market. Besides, to combat the crisis, the government has already started importing onions from different countries. The government has also fined a large number of vendors for hiking onion prices. For all these reasons, onion prices have started falling in the market. If the trend continues, prices may return to normal in the next few days.

Commerce secretary Md Jafar Uddin said the government had taken legal action against 2,500 unscrupulous traders for creating an artificial onion crisis in the market. Highlighting several recent government measures to ease the pressure, Jafar Uddin said: “The onion market will return to normal very soon.”

Myanmar recently increased its export value of onions by four times and local prices had increased partly due to Cyclone Bulbul, the commerce secretary explained. “In this situation, steps have been taken to import onions as per the Prime Minister’s order,” he said.

“On behalf of the government, I want to assure people that the price of onions will come down soon following the government’s effective steps,” he told reporters at the Secretariat.

He read out a written statement to the media and left the press conference without taking questions.

He said the government had asked businesses to import onions from other countries. “A huge amount of onions is being brought by sea,” he added.

Onions were also being imported from Egypt, Turkey, and China via air following the directives of the Prime Minister, he added.

Cargo planes carrying the first consignment of onions from abroad are expected to reach the country today, said Jafar Uddin.

“The local variety of onions has already hit the markets in different districts. The activities of the state-owned Trading Corporation of Bangladesh (TCB) have been strengthened [to tackle the situation],” he noted.

Meanwhile, the price of rice has also shot up over the last two days. In different markets in the capital, 50 kg of Miniket rice was selling for Tk. 2,300, around Tk. 300 higher than a week ago.

The price of each 50-kg sack of Nazirshail rice also increased by at least Tk. 200 to Tk. 2,800. BR-28 rice was priced at Tk. 1,900, up from Tk. 1,700 at the end of last year.

Why did onion prices soar?

On September 29, the Indian government banned the export of onions with immediate effect to improve the availability of onions in India. The move came after the Indian government fixed the minimum export price of onions recently to rein in soaring prices in its domestic market. Since then, onion prices in Bangladesh markets have been skyrocketing.

To deal with the situation, TCB started selling onions from early October through the open market sale (OMS) scheme at various points across the capital.

According to TCB data, on October 15 the price of onions was Tk. 80–95 per kg. The price rose to Tk. 90–100 per kg on October 23 and again to Tk. 120–130 on October 31.

On November 12, industries minister Nurul Majid Mahmud Humayun claimed in Parliament that onion prices had been brought under control even as the price soared beyond the purchasing capacity of the general public.

S Alam Group is all set to import onions from Egypt. The first consignment of onions will be flown to Bangladesh on November 19, the commerce ministry announced on Saturday.

On November 14, the local variety of onions retailed for Tk. 210–220 per kg, imported onions from Myanmar for Tk. 180–200, and onions imported from Turkey for Tk. 160–170 at the Malibagh, Shantinagar, and Shukrabad kitchen markets. Prices rose by Tk. 40–50 in a single day.

Wholesale onion traders blamed supply shortages and inclement weather for the latest hike in onion prices.

Over the last week, the price of onions in Dhaka’s retail kitchen markets soared to record highs of Tk. 240–250 per kg, with imported onions from Myanmar selling for Tk. 230–240 per kg.

A writ petition was filed

with the High Court on Sunday seeking an investigation into the onion crisis.

Prices surged as a section of unscrupulous traders took advantage of lax monitoring by the government and kept pushing up the price of the key cooking ingredient, consumers and traders alleged.

 

SI

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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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