The prices of onion have marked a substantial fall in Dhaka’s kitchen markets after India decided to lift the ban on its export after about six months.
According to traders, the prices fell by as much as Tk30 per kg in the last three days.
They said the local variety of onion has started hitting the market and the prices will fall further once the import of the bulb from India resumes.
Indian media on Wednesday reported that Delhi had decided to lift the ban on onion export following bumper Rabi crop.
In Dhaka’s kitchen markets, each kg local onion cost Tk 100-130 and imported ones Tk80-120 on Saturday. Their prices were Tk130-160 and Tk100-140 respectively on Wednesday.
Hasibul Islam, a shopkeeper in Shantinagar, said they were selling one kg local onion at Tk 130 and the imported bulb at Tk100. “Onion prices fell by Tk 30 in the last three days thanks to buoyant supply. Locally grown onions are available now and Indian onion will come in the market soon. That’s why the prices are falling,” he added.
Aysha Siddiqua, a resident of Bangshal, said she bought one kg local onion at Tk 120 on Saturday. “Sadly, we had to purchase one kg onion at Tk280 in November. The government should take steps to bring down the prices ahead of Ramadan,” she said.
Onion prices jumped by 557.8 percent in Bangladesh only two months after India had banned its export on September 29 last year. Each kg of the bulb cost about Tk 30 before the ban.
Mohammad Hafiz Uddin, an importer of Shyambazar market, said onion price saw a substantial fall in wholesale market since local onions are coming in huge quantities. Imported onions are also available.
“Today, we’re selling each kg locally-grown onion at Tk60-65 and imported ones at Tk 70. The price of onion fell compared to Wednesday’s price and it’ll decline further if the Indian onions hit the markets,” he added.
He said a drastic fall in prices will deprive farmers of fair prices.
“The price may fall to Tk20-30 a kg when Indian onions arrive in the market,” he said, noting that they did not get any official word about the lifting of the export ban.
According to the Commerce Ministry, the annual demand for onions in Bangladesh ranges between 2.2 and 2.5 million tonnes. Although the country’s own annual production has risen, so has the imported amount over the last decade.
Commerce Ministry figures show the amount imported was hardly 0.4 million tonnes in FY' 09, but had touched upto 1.1 million tonnes in recent years.