Onion prices cooling down in Hili land port. UNB File Photo
Onion prices cooling down in Hili land port. UNB File Photo

The prices of onion are likely to increase in the country again as a fallout of its price hike in India.

Local traders said the onion prices are set to go up as they have to purchase the bulb at higher rates.

Mobarak Hossain, an importer through Hili port, said one tonne of Indian onion cost USD150-250 till Wednesday but now the Indian traders re-fixed the rate at $300-420 from Thursday.

As a result, Indian onion is being sold at Tk 37-38 per kg in Bangladesh.

Indian traders said supply crunch has forced them to raise the prices.

Sonu Majumdar, an Indian trader, said onion production suffered a setback in recent floods in India. “We’ve to wait for two months to recoup the losses. The price of onion in India is also high,” he said.

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In an effort to keep the supply and price of onion normal in the country, state-owned Trading Corporation of Bangladesh (TCB) is expected to start selling it soon at a fair price.

A task force committee of the commerce ministry took the decision at a meeting, said a ministry handout issued on 7 September.

Bangladesh saw a record hike in onion prices after India banned its export on 29 September last year.

Onion, a popular item in Bangladeshi kitchens, witnessed a 557.8 per cent year-on-year rise, TCB said. The record jump was made in only two months after the Indian export ban.

According to TCB data, the price of local onion increased by 542.86 percent while that of imported one by 572.73 in November last year compared to the corresponding period of the last year.

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A market analysis showed that the price hike, which stemmed from the ban India slapped on the export, is higher than the TCB estimation.

According to the Commerce Ministry, the annual demand for onion in Bangladesh ranges between 2.2 and 2.5 million tonnes. Although the country’s own annual production has risen, so has the amount imported over the last decade.

Commerce ministry figures show the amount imported was hardly 0.4 million tons in FY09, but had touched up to 1.1 million tons in recent years.