Immediate steps needed to arrest onion price
THE prices of onion shoot up overnight after traders hiked rates in the wake of restriction imposed by India on shipments of tubers to other countries to contain its domestic prices. According to media report, the Indian authority slapped $850, equivalent to Tk 71,821, as minimum export price for per tonne of onion on September 13. This move has made Bangladesh onion market highly volatile. Bangladesh has to get a portion of onion through imports to meet its domestic demand for inadequate production. Recently retail prices of onion soared 25 percent overnight to Tk 55-Tk 70 per kilogramme in the markets of Dhaka city, according to data of the Trading Corporation of Bangladesh. Some retailers at city kitchen markets asked for as high as Tk 80 for one kilogramme of locally grown onions. In some other places, the onion was seen selling at the rate of Tk 100-110 per kilogram. Last night, it was sold at Tk 80 per kilogram.
Local media reported that reainfall damaged a good amount of local onions during the harvesting season in April-May. For that reason, prices of onion produced in the country shot up about Tk 300 each maund to Tk 2,600 from Tk 2,300 recently. Moreover, most of the farmers do not have onions in their stock. Against this backdrop, General Secretary of Shyambazar Onion Aratdar Association said domestic production can meet demand for 7-8 months and 7-8 lakh tonnes of onions need to be imported.
Meanwhile, a member of Bangladesh Tariff Commission on Monday said the prices of onion will go down in 24 hours because of the government's measures and for its adequate supply in the market. "We have recommended for lowering the LC margin for the onion importers from Myanmar. The central bank has already been asked to reduce the interest rate on import of onion," he said. We often see that, prices of onion go up targeting some events, like Eid-Ul Fitr and Eid-Ul Azha. Most of the time a powerful business syndicate allegedly remains involved in hiking the price of this essential kitchen item.
Apart from importing onion from different countries, the government must increase market monitoring to harness the price of this essential item.