Onion price to remain high until alternative import source found

Businesses say at meeting with commerce minister

Staff Correspondent | Published: 23:17, Aug 10,2017 | Updated: 00:01, Aug 11,2017

 
 

Traders on Thursday said that until they could find an alternative import source of onion that offers low price, the consumers would have to pay high price for the item as India, the main source of the commodity increased its export price.
In a meeting with commerce minister Tofail Ahmed at the secretariat in the capital, importers of essential commodities said that they had started process for importing the item from alternative source like Egypt.
Traders said that India itself is suffering from shortage of onion as floods damaged production of the item in many Indian states and prices also increased in its local market.
At the meeting on price, stock and supply situation of essential commodities ahead of Eid-ul-Azha, traders as usual made commitments to keep the prices of essential commodities stable.
During the meeting, the commerce minister asked the chairman of Chittagong port to take necessary syeps to release the imported essential commodities without any delay as traders alleged that port congestion interrupted supply chain of daily essentials.
Tofail assured traders that onion imported from Egypt and others destinations would get priority in realising from the port.
Citing the commerce ministry official data, he said that the stock of daily essentials is higher than the demand.
Traders said that prices of all commodities remained stable in the country and in some cases the prices of some of the items are lower than their international prices.
‘We are selling sugar at prices lower than in the international market, whilw selling soyabean oil at reasonable price,’ Meghna Group chairman Mostafa Kamal said.
He said that prices of essentials would remain stable ahead of Eid-ul-Azha.
Md Golam Mowla, general secretary of Moulvi Bazar Babosayee Samity, blamed retailers for price hike of essential commodities.
He said that sugar was being retailed at Tk 70 a kg (packed) and Tk 60 a kg (Unpacked) whereas wholesale price of the item was Tk 49 a kg.
Price of garlic was Tk 85 a kg in wholesale market while it was retailing at Tk 140 a kg, Mowla said.
Md Mazed, an onion trader of Shaymbazar in the city, said that the floods hampered production of onion by 70 per cent in India and flash flood damaged the stock of the local item by 50 per cent in Bangladesh.
He said that the wholesale price of imported onion increased to Tk 48 a kg on Thursday.
Zahir Uddin Ahmed, one of the onion importers, said that they started process to import onion from Egypt and the cost will be Tk 28-32 a kg.
‘If we get support from the port authority in releasing onion on a priority basis, there will be no shortage of onion in the market,’ he said.
Md Shamsuddin, another onion importer, said that until they could find an alternative source for importing onion, its price would not decrease as price of the item is too high in India.
According to the Trading Corporation of Bangladesh, the price of onion increased by 94.44 per cent in last one month and the item was selling at Tk 50-60 a kg in the city.  

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