• Thursday, Jan 23, 2020
  • Last Update : 02:52 pm

Onion crisis: Local variety out of stock, prices up again

  • Published at 10:04 pm November 24th, 2019
Mahmud Hossain Opu/Dhaka Tribune

At wholesale markets, it was found selling at Tk200 per kg

Onion prices started to inch up again at kitchen markets yesterday, with stocks, especially of the local variety, depleting although the last week witnessed a slight fall in prices.

On Friday, prices rose by a Tk20 a kg, which shot up  by Tk30-40 yesterday to make the retail prices hovering between Tk200 and Tk230 a kg. 

Visiting several wholesale and retail markets at Shukrabad, Malibagh, Rampura and Karwanbazar, most of the retail shops were found out of stock of local variety onion. 

At wholesale markets, it was found selling at Tk200 per kg. However, retail and wholesale markets both went almost out of local onion stock by on Monday.

Traders said the prices increased due to supply shortage of local variety.

Though the government is importing onions via planes to improve supply situation of the key cooking spice, the shortage of supply is still affecting price situation.

Prices of imported onions have reached Tk180-200 at different kitchen markets in the city. Onion from Myanmar was retailing at Tk180-200, those from China at Tk140, those from Egypt at Tk120-160, said Md Sahabuddin, a local trader at Rampura Bazaar.

Some shopkeepers are not even selling onions out of fear of incurring losses while others were selling out of their meagre stock of only 10 to 20 kg.

Mizanur Rahman, a local trader in Malibag Bazaar, said: "The prices of both local variety and imported ones in the wholesale market have gone up. So I cannot buy onions at higher prices and sell at lower prices and thus count losses. This is why most local traders have stopped selling local onion as some consumers are returning home without onions." 

Shyamol Mojumdar from Mohakhali said: “I went to the retail market to buy onion, but most shoppers are not selling the variety. So I came to Karwan Bazar to buy 5kg onion. But the price has gone up again.”

At Karwan Bazar, local onion wholesaled at Tk220. Onion imported from Myanmar was selling at Tk160-190, those from Egypt at Tk110-140, those from Pakistan at Tk170-190 and those from China at Tk130 per kg.

GS Manik, wholesaler from Shyambazar, said: "You will not find any local onion at Shyambazar wholesale market as the supply was sold out. Murikata, a local variety onion, has yet to hit the market. 

At Shyambazaar market, Burmese onion was selling at Tk180-190 per kg, local variety at Tk210-220, Pakistani ones at Tk110-120, Chinese ones at Tk130 and Egyptian ones at Tk120-150.

Abdul Alim, a wholesaler at  Shyambazaar, said local onion was  now out of market for two days. No onion could come to the market due to transport strike, he added, hoping that the prices might come down a little in January.

The imported onions from Myanmar arrived in the market at night and sold out by morning, he added.

Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi earlier said: “We have imported onions from different countries but these could not be delivered to the markets due to transportation problems. Some 12,000 tons of imported onions will reach Chittagong port on November 29."

He also expressed hope that onion prices would come down within 10 days when onion produced in the current season will hit the markets.

Prices rise across country  

In Hili, retail prices of Indian onion rose to Tk180 per kilogram yesterday, which was Tk120-130 per kg even two days ago.

Onion imported from Myanmar sold at Tk180 per kg, while local variety was not available at Hili's markets.

Saddam Hossain, a consumer, said he bought onion at Tk130-140 per kg even four days back. He demanded that the government should intervene and strictly monitor market to prevent further price hikes.

Ferdous Rahman, an onion retailer, said some onion entered Bangladesh illegally from India, which had caused prices to drop slightly in the past few days.

"But now that stock has run out, as well as the ones imported from other countries, hence the price hike," he said, adding, "Prices will remain high until the new yield of local onion hits the market."

In Rangpur, open market sale (OMS) of onion began on Monday at five different points in the city.

It will be sold at Tk45 per kilogram, while each person will be allowed to purchase maximum 2 kg. OMS trucks were found in Kacharibazar, Press Club circle, Citybazar, Shapla circle and Mahiganj area.

People queued up in front of the trucks to purchase onion at the subsidized rates, with many returning empty-handed. They demanded expansion of OMS operation in the city.

In Nilphamari, onion sold at Tk200-220 per kg, up from Tk160 even two days ago.

Local onion sold at Tk210-220 per kg while traders said their stock would run out soon, and cause further price hikes until new supplies of onion hit the market.

In Bogra, the Murikata variety of onion sold yesterday at Tk160 per kg in wholesale and Tk180 per kg in retail markets.

But consumers complained about inferior quality of local onion sold by wholesalers at Tk210 per kg on Monday.