Consumers though, smelt a local conspiracy amid old suspicions of 'syndicates' - powerful networks with presence throughout a supply chain, who work to manipulate the market
Retail prices of onion have doubled in a span of just 10 days, following India's withdrawal of incentives on onion export for its farmers.
Consumers though, smelt a local conspiracy amid old suspicions of 'syndicates' - powerful networks with presence throughout a supply chain, who work to manipulate the market.
A look back through the timeline of events however, supports the view that the price movements are indeed the consequence of policy measures in our neighbouring state.
On June 11, the Indian government withdrew the incentive for the Indian exporters of onions, with the intention of shoring up the Indian market and bringing prices down after they skyrocketed, reports UNB.
It used to allow exporters to get a 10% incentive on the free on board (FOB) prices realised from overseas importers. The incentive scheme was anyway set to expire on June 30, but was brought forward.
At the Benapole land port, the import of Indian onions reduced three-fold in June. Consequently, the price shot up in the big markets of Benapole, Sharsha, Navaron, Bag Anchra and Goga areas.
These markets sold each kilogram of Indian onions at Tk28-32 yesterday which was only Tk14 before.
Customers are, however buying each kilogram of local onions at Tk38-42 which they used to buy at Tk22 before. Price of the local variety has always been higher than that of imported onions.
Authority urged to monitor local markets
Citing that dishonest traders and importers are in cahoots in raising the onion price, customers here urged the authority to monitor local markets.
Land port inspector Nazrul Islam said the last 10 days of the previous month, 1770 metric tons of onions were imported through Benapole. But in the first nine days of the running month, only 459 metric tons of onions were imported.
According to the commerce ministry, annual demand for onions in Bangladesh ranges between 2.2 and 2.5million tons. Although the country's own annual production of onions has risen, so has the imported amount gradually over the last decade.
Commerce ministry figures show the amount imported was hardly 0.4million tons in FY' 09, but had touched up to 1.1million tons in recent years.
Currently, each ton of onion is being imported at the cost of $150-200.
However, import of onions remained unchanged in other land ports of the country.