The prices of onion have almost doubled in only one-month time in the capital's kitchen market 'due to supply shortage'.
"if the supply shortage continues for a few more days, it will be too difficult to reduce the prices of onion though more import onion comes in the market," said Rafiqul Islam, a businessman of Kawranbazar kitchen market.
Businessmen fear that if import of this most important spice is not increased before Holy Eid-ul-Adha, it will be more costly after a few days.
Visiting Kawran-bazar kitchen market on Friday, this correspondent found that per kilogram local-variety onion selling in retail at Tk 52-52, which was Tk 35-40 just one week ago.
The imported onion was found selling at Tk 40-45 per kg, which was Tk 30-35 per kilogram on the same day last week. Five kgs of local onion sold at Tk 200 and the imported one at Tk 150, which were Tk 150 and Tk 120 respectively one week ago at Karwanbazar wholesale market.
Trading Corporation of Bangladesh (TCB) data show that per kg local onion sold at Tk 40 and imported onion at Tk 30 one week ago. The prices were Tk 30 and Tk 25 respectively one month ago. Sources said the Ministry of Commerce will discuss onion prices and its availability with all the stakeholders in a meeting this week amid soaring prices of the commodity in the local market.
It has already asked three deputy commissioners of three land ports to take action to release imported onions now in the warehouses of the land ports. According to sources from the ministry, the country has an annual demand of 2.2 million to 2.5 million metric tons of onions.
Last year, Bangladesh produced 1.75 million metric tons of onions, while the deficit of around 700,000 tons was covered through import. Indian media reports that wholesale prices at Lasalgaon in India'a Maharashtra, Asia's largest wholesale market for onion, was shot up by 48 per cent in the last month.
Following a steady rise in domestic prices, the Indian government recently scrapped incentives on export of fresh and chilled onions to discourage overseas sales of the onion.
---Salim Khan, AA
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