Huge onions stocked in Pabna farmers’ houses

An onion market at Kawran Bazar, Dhaka.
An onion market at Kawran Bazar, Dhaka.AFP file photo
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Onion cultivators at Pabna’s Sujanagar, Santhia and Bera, known as the reserves of onions, have at least 99,000 tonnes of onions stocked in their houses.

The farmers have started to bring the preserved onions to the markets as prices of the staple vegetable suddenly soared. But the sudden surge in supply has also caused a downfall trend in prices of onions in local markets after a day.

On Monday, onions were sold at a wholesale price of Tk 80-88 per kg at various markets of the upazilas. Prices dropped to Tk 75-80 per kg the following day.

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According to the agriculture office sources, Sujanagar is the highest onion producing upazila in the country followed by Santhia. This time, 213,000 tonnes of onions have been produced on 16,750 hectares of land while Bera produced 56,200 tonnes of onions cultivating 5,000 hectares of land.

According to three upazila agriculture offices, the onion stored in the farmers’ houses is much more compared to other years. Almost five months have passed since March-April, the onion harvesting season.

The stored onion was supposed to run out by this time, but still huge onions are stored there. Of them, 40,000 tonnes are stored in Sujanagar, 40,000 tonnes in Santhia and 11,000 tonees in Bera.

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According to several sources, onion growers sold less onions during the harvesting season due to the coronavirus situation. In addition, the NGOs could not extract installments from the farmers due to government for several months allowing the farmers not to worry about paying installments and halt onion sales.

The presence of the onion traders as well as the onion cultivators were also less during this period. Due to all this, a large section of the onions is still in stock.

Over the last two days, the supply of onions in the markets increased as farmers started to bring the onions to the markets on the news of rising onion prices, according to the traders and growers. Apart from this, huge traders from different parts of the country including Dhaka were also seen at the markets.

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“The onion prices are a bit down than yesterday (Tuesday),” said Md. Alam, manager of onion depot Munnaf Traders in Karamja Hat, Santhia. “Farmers are bringing more and more onions to the market following the news of rising prices. If onions supplies are increased this way, the prices may further decrease,” he added.

The traders, generally, have stockpiled onions in other years, but this year the farmers stored the vegetable.

Munnaf Pramanik, owner of the largest onion depot in Santhia, said, “The price of onion was Tk 1,700-1,800 per mound during the harvesting season this year. The traders did not dare to stock onions at such a high price.”

According to a number of onion growers including Sirajul Islam from Sanila village of Bera, Ali Akbar of Tarapur village, Nur Islam of Mohishkola village of Santhia, farmers incurred losses in last consecutive years. They started grossing profit since last time, yet many made a small profit by selling most of the onions during the harvesting season. But this time they are trying their best to retain the onions.

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