Onion prices create new record

Dhaka, Nov 15 – Onion prices in the kitchen market kept breaking the records, with per kilo having a price tag of as high as Tk 240-250 in some places on Friday. In New Market kitchen market, local onion was being sold at Tk 250 per kilo yesterday, as this correspondent found out.
On average the price of per kilo of onion was Tk 220-Tk 240 in most of the kitchen markets.
Many customers believe that a section of unscrupulous traders was taking advantage of lax monitoring of the government and kept pushing up the prices of this key cooking ingredient.
“The government has been saying that it would take measures to control the onion price, but the market reflects otherwise,” said Nihad Ferdous, a banker who was doing his grocery shopping in Jhigatola kitchen market.
“It seems, if I don’t buy onion today because of its high price tag, then on the next day, I need to pay even more. When will the government rein this uncontrollable upward trend of onion price,” Nihad questioned.
Mahadi Abdur Rauf, a doctor who usually does his grocery shopping from Swapno outlet in Dhanmondi believes the government and the media are partly responsible for this jacked-up price of onions.
“Every time the government says the price will be controlled and the media reports it, the prices become higher,” he said.
Arafat Hossain, a wholesale trader at Karwan Bazar told The Independent they don’t have any option but to raise the price. “We buy five kilos of local onion at Tk 1,175, so we don’t have any option but to sell those at Tk 1,200 per pall (five kilos).
Five kg imported (Myanmar) onion was selling between Tk 950 and Tk 1000 and five kg onion from Turkey were selling at Tk 900 to Tk950 in the capital’s largest kitchen market.
Bashir Ahmed, a wholesaler at Karwanbazar, said: “Although onions are being imported from Myanmar, Turkey and Egypt following the imposition of an export ban by India, the volume of import is still insignificant to cater to the domestic demand.”
“We have a supply shortage. Indian onions are not coming, while local variety has scarcity in the market. Besides, it takes a long time for the onion to come from Turkey and Egypt,” said wholesale trader Imam Hossen at Shyambazar
On Thursday, terming the crisis artificial, senior treasury and opposition bench lawmakers came down heavily on the government in parliament for failing to check skyrocketing onion prices.
They said people were suffering and the government’s failure to bring down the prices of the daily essential would trigger negative reaction from the people.
The MPs, taking the floor on points of order, said there was “no shortage” of onions in the market and the crisis was artificially created.
Meanwhile, the government has decided to bring onions by cargo planes on an emergency basis. Commerce Secretary Dr Zafar Ahmed yesterday said that the government through Trading Corporation of Bangladesh (TCB) will bring the onions from Turkey.
In the private sector, S Alam group will bring onions from Egypt. The government and S Alam group will keep importing onions from the two countries until the onion market stabilize, said the Commerce Secretary. – Staff Reporter