Thursday, May 30, 2024


Dhaka Tribune

Onion prices finally come down

Update : 27 Dec 2017, 12:31 AM
The prices of onion have started falling in the local market, but the declining prices have had more effect on the wholesale market than at the retail level. Only a week ago, a kilogram of locally produced onion cost Tk140 but now they are available at Tk120-130. Although the new supply of local onion is being sold at Tk56 per kg at the wholesale market, it is costing Tk80 in the retail market. Onion imported from India was being sold at Tk50-52 per kg at Dhaka’s wholesale market but it was costing as much as Tk80 at the retail level on Monday.
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The decline in prices has been attributed to an abundant supply of onion from districts like Faridpur, Joypurhat, Naogaon and Manikganj. Traders say the supply will be ratcheted up if the sky remains clear. Ariful Haq, a wholesale trader at Dhaka’s Shyambazar, clarified: “Onion prices have come down as the supply increased. The prices will fall further.” Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed said buoyant supply was pushing down the prices that would decline more in coming days. “Prices of goods also rise at times because of excessive writings in the media. Onion is not an exception,” he said. “The rise in onion price was temporary.” Tofail said the production of onion was not good this season in Bangladesh and India. “So, there was a little problem in supply,” he said, adding that he believed information relating to onion production, import and demand was incorrect. Onion prices started skyrocketing ahead of this year’s Eid-ul-Azha, which is a common trend since the commodity is in high demand during this occasion. Although various government initiatives had managed to rein in the prices last year, but this year the situation was different. The prices of onion jumped to Tk140 per kg.  
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Traders said rain had hampered onion production in India and pushed the prices up. That effect rippled across the local market. When asked why onion prices were high despite a buoyant production in the local market this year, Commerce Ministry Secretary Shubhashish Bose said it was temporary. “It will go down within a few days,” he assured. “Many roads were damaged because of incessant rain that hampered transport.” Commerce Ministry data show that the annual demand for onion is 2 to 2.2 million tons annually but it increases during Ramadan and Eid-ul-Azha. Agriculture Ministry sources said Bangladesh produced 1.7 to 1.8 million tons of onion. Traders say the locally produced onion meets 60% of the demand. They say onion is mostly imported from neighbouring India. Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE) sources said the average demand for onion per month is 115,000 tons. This demand is particularly high from November to January. Apart from this, the demand rises by two million tons during Ramadan and Eid-ul-Azha. Various syndicates become active to manipulate the situation. There was no manipulation of onion prices during Ramadan this year as unscrupulous businessmen had targeted the Eid. This is why the prices soared in October, November and December despite having adequate reserves. DAE sources said if the production and import costs are considered, it would appear that each kg of onion cost the businessmen between Tk15 and Tk25. But despite all this, onion price increased nearly 40% in the last one month, according to the Trading Corporation of Bangladesh. Sources in a committee under the Commerce Ministry that reviews goods prices said 770,845 tons of onions have been imported between January and October 17 this year. So far, LCs have been opened for importing 819,043 tons of onion from India.This article was first published on Bangla Tribune
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