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Onion price hike: SB blames syndicate

14 October 2021
Onion price hike: SB blames syndicate

Noman Mosharef :
The cultivation of fall planted onions usually starts from October-November and the harvest begins in December. As a result, the onions in the domestic markets face shortfall during this period.
Capitalising the shortfall period, a syndicate of unscrupulous traders tend to make onion markets unstable by raising its prices, says a report of Special Branch (SB) of Bangladesh Police.
In this situation, SB suggests the authorities to intensity market monitoring activities to identify the business syndicate-importers, wholesalers, hoarders and  retailers-and take legal action against them.
The Special Branch of Police came up with the suggestions in a report on titled, "Recent Onion Price Hike' submitted to the Commerce Ministry on Sunday (October 10).
The report says within a month distance, the rate of local onion has increased by Tk 25-30 and now it is being sold at Tk 65-75 while Indian onion's price increased by Tk 15-20 and is being sold at Tk 55-65.
Though, there are enough onion stock in the country, the price of onion is hiked due to dishonest traders inter-connection among them , middle man and agent's guts which make unbearable pressure on the country's lower and middle income group of people.
So, SB seems that the strict measures should have been taken to keep onion's price at reasonable and logical level.
On the other hand, Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi said, there is plenty of onion in the country. So, there is no need to be panicked. The reserve and supply of onion remain normal.
Tipu Munshi said about five lakh metric tons of local onions have remained stockpiled in the country which is sufficient to fulfil 2-3 months' demand.
The experts said, there is no scope to make onion market unstable by using Indian solicitation as there are reserve onions for three months.
SB's observation said there are 10 origins onion in the country. Of them three origins have cultivation in summer and rest in winter.  
Generally, the temperature of the country is favourable for cultivating winter origin onion whereas the summer origin onion is possible to cultivate in winter but difficult to preserve.
As a result the cultivation and production of fall planted onions (October-November season) which is available in market in December are more than winter season. So, September- November is considered as a short fall season of onion in the country.
During this time, to dishonest traders' syndicate makes onion market unstable. Besides, when onion price is hiked, a significant number of people started panic buying which makes extra demand and finally onion price gone up.
Report presented a comparative price list of the onion of last four years October- November month. According to this list the rate of the local onion was Tk 30-40 per kg while imported at Tk 25-30 in 2018. Report says in 2019 per kg local onion price was Tk 95-125 whereas imported one at Tk 90-120. In 2020 per kg local onion was at Tk 70-90 and imported one at Tk 50-90 and in 2021 local at Tk 65-75 and imported at Tk 55-65.
Report further said there are 28 lakh tons of onion's demands each year in the country. About 25-33 lakh tons onion is  grown locally but about 30 per cent are rotted for various reasons. There is no heat control system in both government and private level for reserving the onion in the country. The ideal temperature for preserving onion is 12-20 centigrade and 35-45 per cent humidity.
Eventually, there are no cold storage facilities for reserving onion in the country. As a result the farmers have stored onion by their own local method which is the cause of more rotten of the onion.
Besides, import system from India is so complicated which also another reason for making deficit of onion in the country.

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