Monday, September 21, 2020 | ePaper

Onion prices zoom after India bans export

Consumers go for panic buying

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Panic-stricken consumers start buying onions several times more than their usual need fearing abnormal price hike of this essential cooking indegrant following ban on its export by Indian authorities. This photo was taken from city's Karwan Bazar on Tues

Reza Mahmud :
Prices of onion jumped by about 50 percent on Tuesday noon in local markets after India's ban on exporting of the commodity from Monday.
The price of the essential cooking item rose by Tk 45 to Tk 55 per kg and is now being sold at Tk 100 to 110 per kg in different city kitchen markets.
But two days ago, the onions were sold at Tk 55-65 per kg depending on size and varieties.
After India's suspension on the exporting of the item, government has taken nine point measures including withdrawing five percent import tariff to control its price hiking.
Commerce Secretary Dr. Md. Zafar Uddin said, "There is no shortage of onion in the country. There is no crisis also. There is no crisis of its market delivery chain also. So, there is no reason to increase price of the items."
The Commerce Secretary said, the government is trying to control the market.
"We have conducted mobile courts drives to stop price hiking by dishonest traders in markets," Dr. Md. Zafar Uddin said.
He however, said that Bangladesh is importing large amount of onion from Turkey. And the country will also import the product from Myanmar and other countries soon.
Mobile courts have conducted drives in different whole sale markets in the city including Shambazar and Karwanbazar on Tuesday.
On the other hand businessmen of the whole sale markets blamed the syndicates for the price hiking.
"Traders of whole sale markets are only selling commodities exchanging commission only. So, there will be no positive result by conducting mobile court drives here. The government should catch the real syndicate working behind the price hiking," said, Alam Sarder, an importer.
He accused the government's unawareness liable for the sudden crisis.
"It is notable that onion prices always depend on India. Repeated discussions were held at Benapole and Hili land ports in the last several days about India's possible ban on the commodity, but the government has not taken any measure to tackle the future," the onion importer said. Expressing anger, buyers said the market has had enough stock, but the prices have been shot up by a syndicate.
On the other hand the panicked buyers have found buying onion in large amount which also brought negative impact on the market.
As per the ultra demand, the traders have increased its price in unusual manner.
The consumers have noticed in rush buying and joined the completion.
Market analysts said the panicked buyers are also responsible to hike the price.
On the other hand, the sellers said ban on onion export by India has affected the market.
India banned onion export on Monday amid shortage of supply due to excessive rainfall and flood in the country.
Sources said total 25 lakh 57 thousand tones of onion were grown in the country this year against demand for 25 lakh tones.
As the commodity is perishable, about 30 percent of the item has to be lost.
About 19 lakh and 11thousand tones of onion have prevailed after the wastage.
In this view, the country faces shortage by about five to seven lakh tones of the commodity every year.
Market analysts said, import of five to seven lakh tones onion influenced the home product of about 19 lakh tones.
"If any crisis has been created on importing of this five to seven lakh tones of the commodity, the whole market become turmoil," one of them said.
Analysts suggest the government to tackle the five to seven lakh tones of onion importing wisely.
Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi did not receive phone calls from journalists on Tuesday while trying to get his comment on this regard.
Besides, State Minister for Foreign Affairs M Shahriar Alam said that Bangladesh had requested the Indian government to withdraw the ban imposed on onion export as soon as possible, keeping the import flow of onion from India uninterrupted.
Bangladesh expects a positive outcome in this regard soon, the state minister said.
The latest development is that the Indian authority has permitted several hundred trucks loaded with onion on Monday to cross the border to Bangladesh on Tuesday evening.
It will solve the crisis partially.
Officials from Commerce Ministry said, the government's nine points steps are included sending letters to Cabinet Secretary, Eight Divisional Commissioners, 64 Deputy Commissioners to strengthen market monitoring.
Deputy Commissioners of Faridpur, Rajbari, Pabna and Natore has been directed to play active role to monitor onion production, hoarding, delivery and price.  
Ministry of Agriculture has been urged to issue Quarantine certificate on onion.
Government directed to Governor of Bangladesh Bank for overall assistance to onion importers regarding opening LC to import the item.
Chairman of the National Board of Revenue (NBR) has been asked to give quick delivery of the imported onion from ports and help to importer in necessary fields.
NBR Chairman also has been directed to withdraw import tariff by five percent temporarily.
Land port Chairman also directed to quick delivery of all imported onions from Benapole, Hili, Sona Masjid and Bhomora land ports.
Three Joint Secretaries have been sent to Faridpur, Rajbari, Pabna and Natore to collect onion production, stocking and price related information.
Authorities of all ports have been asked to send notice about import situation, container gridlock and artificial crisis.

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