Skyrocketing onion prices have been brought under control, says minister
“I believe the onion market which had gone beyond being affordable for the common man, is now under control,” he said, responding to a supplementary question from BNP MP Jahidur Rahman in Parliament on Tuesday, reports UNB.
Humayun answered the question in the absence of Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi.
He said the onion market got overheated due to a supply shortfall caused by India’s export ban following flashfloods in the neighbouring country.
“But we have brought the situation under control quickly. We are importing onions from Myanmar and Turkey,” the minister added.
The industries minister said it is a lean season for onions and a crisis usually prevails at this time of the year. “Our local onions are yet to hit the market. However, they will be available within a few days.”
He also mentioned that the import of onions from India has started again.
The Industries minister added that the government is conducting mobile courts at district and upazila levels to prevent the sale of onions at exorbitant prices.
The Directorate of Consumer Rights Protection and other government agencies are monitoring markets across the country.
Replying to a written question from Awami League MP Anwar Khan (Laxmipur 1), he said the annual demand for onions in the country is 2.4m metric tons (MT) against a local production of 23.3m MT.
“Of the produced amount, 30% is damaged during harvesting and improper preservation. That means the total amount stands at 16.31m MT. This deficit is met with imports from India,” Humayun continued.
He said, the onion market suffered seriously due to floods in Maharashtra, India. For that, Indian export prices were raised to US $850 from $250-300. “Later, they stopped onion exports as prices shot up abnormally. As a result, prices in Bangladesh also saw an upward trend.”
To cool down the market, the minister said, the government has started selling onions in the open market through the Trading Corporation of Bangladesh (TCB).