Onion prices fall amid rising imports

The price of onion is declining because of an increased arrival of the key cooking ingredient, much to the respite of consumers, who have already been hit hard by higher prices of rice and vegetables.

In Dhaka, retailers sold each kilogram of onion for Tk 40-85 depending on quality yesterday, down 26 per cent from a month ago, market price data compiled by the state-run Trading Corporation of Bangladesh showed.

In Chattogram, the wholesale and retail prices of onion saw a downward trend in the last few days at the Khatunganj wholesale hub.

At the wholesale markets in the city, imported onions were selling at Tk 43 to Tk 50 per kg yesterday, down from Tk 48 to Tk 60 a week ago.

The retail prices of the vegetable at kitchen markets in the city were Tk 5 to Tk 10 higher than the wholesale price, traders said.

The prices skyrocketed when India banned exports on September 14, pushing the wholesale price to Tk 80 per kg and the retail price to Tk 90-95.

According to traders and the Chattogram Customs, onions became Tk 5-10 cheaper per kg in the wholesale and retail markets after the release of 33,002 tonnes of imported onion through the Chattogram Port between September 14 and November 4. Around 2,300 tonnes would be released within two to three days.

Omar Faruque, a wholesaler and director of Ira traders, told The Daily Star that the price of onion has come down by Tk 5-10 per kg due to increased imports.

Onions from Myanmar and Pakistan were selling at Tk 42-43 per kg, Turkish onions at Tk 50-52 per kg and Chinese onion at Tk 20 to 40 per kg.

About 120 traders submitted documents to import 204,401 tonnes of onion from China, Egypt, Pakistan, the Netherlands, Myanmar, Turkey, Thailand and New Zealand as of Wednesday, data from the Plant Quarantine Centre at Chattogram Port showed.

Md Asaduzzaman Bulbul, deputy director of the Plant Quarantine Centre, said traders have been seeking permissions to import onions every day since India stopped shipping onions to Bangladesh. 

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