• Wednesday, Dec 11, 2019
  • Last Update : 08:10 pm

Chittagong onion market reeling from supply crunch

  • Published at 10:39 pm October 30th, 2019
WEB_ Onion
Representational Image Dhaka Tribune

On September 29, the Indian government banned the export of onion with immediate effect until further order in order to ensure the domestic availability of onion at affordable prices

The prices of onion, an essential cooking ingredient, continue to soar due to supply crunch and huge demands from both wholesale and retail markets in Chittagong.

Onion retailed at Tk120-140 a kg yesterday at different kitchen markets of the port city.

Intense market monitoring previously kept onion prices in Khatunganj wholesale market at tolerable levels in the first week of this month.

On October 2, the wholesale prices of local and imported onions ranged between Tk60 and Tk70 a kg.

On October 15, onion imported from Myanmar sold between Tk70 and Tk75 a kg and Indian onion at Tk80-85 at Khatunganj wholesale market.

On Tuesday, local onion sold at Tk115 a kg, Chinese and Egyptian onion at Tk85-88 a kg. Besides, Indian onion sold at Tk115 a kg and Myanmar onion sold at Tk95-105 a kg at Khatunganj wholesale market.

On September 29, the Indian government banned the export of onion with immediate effect until further order in order to ensure the domestic availability of onion at affordable prices.

As an alternative option, Bangladesh started to import onion from Myanmar, Egypt and Turkey. However, Myanmar also hiked price that affected the local market.

Md Edris, general secretary of Hamid Ullah Market Traders’ Association at Khatunganj wholesale market told Dhaka Tribune that the onion prices continued to surge due to supply shortage.

“Demand is very high for Indian and local onion at the market. However, the supply against the demand is not adequate. Moreover, it takes time to import onion from countries like Egypt and Turkey. Onion cannot be stored for a long time since it is a perishable item. Importers possibly have taken a wait-and-see approach as India may lift the export ban anytime,” the wholesaler explained.  

Speaking to Dhaka Tribune, Chittagong Deputy Commissioner Elius Hossain said that they had nothing to do with the surging prices of onion as the import cost shot up.

“As you know, onion prices have shot up to Rs100 a kg in India. In addition, Myanmar has also hiked onion prices. The commerce ministry announced that the price might come down by the first week of November with the arrival of some big consignments,” said the DC.

Replying to a question, he said they had no plan now to conduct any drive in the onion markets.

On Monday, Commerce Minister Topu Munshi said the landing cost of onion imported from Myanmar jumped to Tk70 per kg, which was Tk42 about 15 days ago.

SM Nazer Hossain, central vice president of Consumers Association Bangladesh (CAB), said the consumers should practice austerity as the price of onion increased sharply.

On Monday, Tipu said the overheated onion market was expected to cool down within the next couple of days when big consignments of onions from a number of countries would enter the country.