Imports fail to rein in onion prices
Business Desk :
Onion prices continue to remain high in Dhaka kitchen markets, despite imports coming into this country from neighbouring India.
In markets like Anondobazar and Shyambazar, for instance, onions - a staple in many Bangladeshi dishes - are retailing between Tk 80 and Tk 120.
Despite around 1,000 metric tonnes of the bulb came to the country from India through Satkhira's Bhomra land port in the last three days, traders say they are yet to get the imports.
According to Ashikur Rahman, a shopkeeper at Anandabazar, there is still a supply shortage in the capital, which is leading to a spike in onion prices in the capital markets, reports UNB.
"The prices of onions have already doubled over the week, following a ban imposed by the Indian government. Today (Thursday) I bought only local onions from the wholesale market at Tk 75 a kg. There is transportation cost too. So, I am selling onions for over Tk 100 to customers. We are yet to get Indian onions," he told.
Ashikur said Bangladesh is dependent on India for most products, not only onions. "If the Indian government imposes a ban on a single product, then it has a cascading effect on Bangladesh markets. Besides, many businessmen hoard onions to make extra money at times of shortage."
Shyambazar wholesaler Manik Shaha echoed similar sentiments. "There are no Indian onions in the wholesale market due to the ban on exports to Bangladesh. So, we are compelled to sell only local onions at high prices, following huge demand. The 925 metric tonnes of Indian onions that recently entered Bangladesh are yet to reach the city markets."
After the abrupt September 14 ban, India on September 19 decided to partially relax the same by allowing limited exports of onions. But that did not help.
Shaha fears that onion prices could see a sharp rise in the coming days if the Indian government doesn't lift the ban on exports to Bangladesh. Onion is a seasonal crop and its shortage during the offseason often leads to price rise. "However, after September 30, onion prices may stabilise as imports are likely to come in from Pakistan, Turkey and Myanmar."