Home Bangladesh Syndicate sucked Tk 500 cr by hiking onion prices
Bangladesh - December 14, 2023

Syndicate sucked Tk 500 cr by hiking onion prices

Supply is more than demand

Staff Correspondent: By creating a kind of artificial crisis of onion, more than Tk 500 crore are being looted from the pockets of consumers daily. The syndicate is still manipulating the market despite the vigilance of the different agencies.
Onion prices suddenly increased in the country’s market due to the sudden news of India’s export ban. Although there is no shortage of onion in the market after India’s export ban. Rather, the supply of local fresh murikata and summer onions has been quite good in the last few days. At the same time, onions with leaves are available in the market. As a result, there should not be any shortage of this daily essential product. However, showing artificial crisis, traders have increased the unusual price of onion in just two days. Market analysts blame some unscrupulous traders and the failure of law enforcement agencies for this.
Analysis of the data showed that the annual demand of onion in the country is 28 lakh tons. That is, an average of 2 lakh 33 thousand tons is needed every month. In the current season, onion has been planted in the country on about 50 thousand hectares of land, the production of which will be about 8 lakh tons. These onions have started coming in the market now. From now till February-March the supply through that onion should be fine.
Apart from this, summer onion has been cultivated in the country in about 500 hectares of land, where the production will be about 50 thousand tons. Besides, LC was opened for import of 52 thousand tons of onion from India before imposition of ban on onion export. These onions are also coming in the market. If all supply sectors are added, there should not be a shortage of onion in the country at this time.
Even if we calculate the production and supply of the whole year, onions are supposed to be in surplus now. According to the government, more onions are produced in the country than the demand. Every year, the production of onion in the country is more than 34 lakh tons, including winter, summer and main season. Out of which 25 to 30 percent of onion is wasted from collection to consumer stage. The rest has to be imported to meet the shortage of spoiled onions. According to the data of the National Board of Revenue (NBR), the import of onion in the last 11 months of this year (2023) has exceeded 8 lakh 64 thousand tons. According to this calculation, there should be a surplus of 4 to 5 lakh tons of onions this year.
In such a situation, the market stakeholders say that dishonest traders have actually created an artificial crisis on the pretext of India’s export ban. This is like a scam of looting the consumer’s money. By creating a kind of unrest, more than Tk 500 crore are being looted from the pockets of consumers daily.
As a general rule, the daily demand of onion in the country is about 80 lakh kg. If it is found that traders are currently making additional profit of Tk 120 per kg. So currently, onion traders are making hundreds of crores of extra profit from the consumer’s pocket every day.
These issues were discussed with Consumers Association of Bangladesh (CAB) Vice President SM Najer Hossain. Najer Hossain told Jago News, “What is happening in Onion, it cannot be called business. Consumer hostage robbery going on. It is completely unethical.’
He said, “There is no shortage of onions anywhere. No onion was found in any store, what happened? Instead, go to the market and see full of onions. Still talking about the crisis! The price is being increased as desired.
SM Najer Hossain also said, ‘This is due to the lack of good governance in the market. Traders are setting prices as they please, ignoring any government regulations. But the government has fixed the price of onion at Tk 65, but it is only on paper. Sometimes the consumer department imposes some fines. Although it does not matter to the businessmen.
He said, “We have repeatedly said that the government’s agriculture ministry should have an annual plan. When to import and when to meet demand with domestic production, I have not seen any such initiative. They also cannot provide any clear information on stock or supply. As if everything has become ineffective.’
According to the information of the Department of Agriculture Extension, the production of onion in the country was 34 lakh 60 thousand tons in the last financial year 2022-23. Even excluding depreciation during storage, it stands at 24 lakh 22 thousand tons. At the same time the import permit was 24 lakh 83 thousand tons. Meanwhile, 7 lakh 43 thousand tons of imported onions have arrived in the country. According to this, in the fiscal year 2022-23, the availability of onion in the country, including domestic and imported, was 31 lakh 65 thousand tons. Which is 3 lakh 65 thousand tons more than the demand.
The production of onion is increasing every year – the Directorate of Agriculture Extension says that the production of onion in the country has increased by 21 lakh tons in the last 11 years. Domestic onion production was 13 lakh 58 thousand tons in 2012-13 financial year. Which is now 34 lakh 60 thousand tons. In the last (2021-22) financial year, onion production was 3.4 lakh tonnes. Earlier, the production of onion in 2020-21 financial year was 2.6 lakh tonnes. In other words, the production of onion has increased consistently in the country.
Badal Chandra Biswas, director general of the Directorate of Agricultural Extension, told Jago News, “Despite the increase in production, consumers are not getting the benefits due to problems in market management.”
Agriculture sector stakeholders say that import of onions from India has been uncertain at times for the past few years. In this, the government gives more emphasis on onion cultivation in Bangladesh. Besides, the farmers of the country are inclined towards onion cultivation due to good prices for several years. As the onion production in the country is increasing, the consumer demand is also being met. As a result, onion imports from India have started to decline in recent years. However, the attitude of traders has not changed. Despite having sufficient stock of onion, the price of this daily commodity has been suddenly increased by various means.

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