Will monitor onion market before resorting to imports: agriculture minister

Onion price has been fluctuating over the last three weeks, peaking at Tk 80 per kg currently

Senior Correspondentbdnews24.com
Published : 21 May 2023, 09:35 AM
Updated : 21 May 2023, 09:35 AM

Agriculture Minister Md Abdur Razzaque wants to observe the market price of onions for two or three more days before importing the kitchen staple as wholesale prices trend down.

Speaking at the Secretariat on Sunday, Razzaque expressed worries about the fluctuating price of onions over the past 15-20 days.

The retail price of each onion is currently Tk 80 per kg, nearly double that of the Tk 40-Tk 45 per kg price less than a month ago.

Over the past 10 days, different government quarters have spoken about importing onions to ease the situation. But a final decision was yet to be made.

“Under the circumstances, we are trying to figure out the market for the last four to five days. Onion at Tk 80 per kg is absolutely unacceptable. The price is much lower in India. We can import onions from there to drive down the market price here to reasonable levels,” the minister said.

“We’ve gone to the farmers’ doorsteps and tried to acquire field-level information through the Department of Agriculture Marketing.”

“Most of the farmers said they have a sufficient supply of onions. They are stockpiling it in hopes of higher prices. We’ve spoken at a high level about the matter. You will get a decision in two to three days about whether we’ll import the crop.”

He said authorities decided to observe the market for some time after the cost of onions fell by Tk 300-400 for every maund, approximately 37.32 kg, on Saturday.

Razzaque thinks Tk 45 per kg of onion is a ‘reasonable’ pricing for onions.

“The harvest of onions was quite good last year, and a lot was stored. But a huge amount was ruined later. Many big traders stockpiled onions hoping that prices would rise. But that led to ruined products. This year they planted less.”


The commerce ministry wrote to the agriculture ministry, requesting permission to import onions, Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi said at a programme in Dhaka on Sunday. 

He said the agriculture ministry would inform them about its decision “considering all aspects very soon”.  

Although production has been “adequate” in Bangladesh, prices have gone up because many people have stockpiled onions and destabilised the market by creating an artificial crisis to make extra profits, according to him.

“We’ve asked the agriculture ministry to take necessary steps to issue import permits considering the current market situation. Import permits were halted so that farmers could get a fair price. But now imports are required because the consumers are suffering,” he said. 

Tipu Munshi hoped the market would stabilise once onion imports resume.