The Financial Express

Onion price: Govt sends monitoring teams to seven dists, three ports

| Updated: September 24, 2020 09:56:12

Focus Bangla file photo Focus Bangla file photo

The government has sent six teams to seven districts and three land-ports of the country to monitor the price of onion, its stock, supply, import and production there, officials said.

The Ministry of Commerce (MoC) has sought help of deputy commissioners (DCs) and Superintendents of Police (SPs) to take all necessary measures to ensure hassle free quick transportation and delivery of the good in priority basis to keep the supply chain stable.

Besides, it has asked the agriculture ministry to adopt a long term policy for providing incentive, quality seeds and necessary fertilizers in bid a to achieve self-sufficiency in onion production in future in the country.

The commerce ministry issued office orders Sunday last in this regard.

When asked on monitoring teams, a high official of the commerce ministry said the districts and land ports that the teams have been sent to are Faridpur, Rajbari, Pabna, Kushtia, Rajshahi, Natore and Teknaf of Cox's Bazar District and Sonamasjid, Bhomra and Hili land ports.

While visiting both the retail and wholesale markets in the districts concerned, they will take action against hoarding and artificial price hike of the item if found, the official said.

Besides, the teams concerned have been tasked with monitoring the onion import situation of the land ports. They will also work to keep the import prices of the spice at a reasonable level.

They will come back to Dhaka on September 24 and submit their reports to the commerce secretary within three days after return.

Couple of days of last week, the country's markets witnessed an increase of onion prices, which market observers described as 'artificial,"

Besides, following India's onion export ban, prices of the item shot up to Tk 120 per kilogram of onion in the local market.

And that prompted the government to take some steps including strengthening market monitoring, forming the teams for monitoring the markets outside Dhaka -- in efforts to check the galloping onion price.

Last week, the commerce ministry also sent its three high officials to the different lands ports to oversee the import activities of onion.

During monitoring, an official of commerce ministry said the teams would visit production hubs of onion and talk to the deputy commissioners (DCs), ports authorities concerned and UNO about how to prevent hoarding and ensure adequate supply of the essential spice item in the market.

Bangladesh is a major importer of the Indian onion and so any price change of the spice in the neighbouring country spills onto the country's market, experts said.

They also said poor market monitoring encouraged traders to raise the prices whimsically. The country produced over 1.91 million tonnes.

However, commerce minister Tipu Munshi said on Wednesday last at a press conference the country has a 0.5 million tonnes of stock of local onion and it also imported 0.184 million tonnes in last two months, July and August, 2020.

The TCB has already started for open market sale (OMS) of onion including some other essential commodities through trucks aiming to keep its prices within the buying capacity of common people. Onions are being sold through E-commerce platform.

All kinds of steps have also been taken to help stabilize onion prices in the market, according to the commerce ministry.

India has already given approval to export of 25,000 tonnes onions to Bangladesh. The consignments have started to enter into Bangladesh, according to the commerce ministry.

The neighbouring country is likely to allow its traders to export more 10000 tonnes of the key kitchen item to Bangladesh.

Onions are being imported from different countries including Myanmar and Turkey. There will be no onion crisis in the country.


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