Admitting that the people suffered a lot due to the sky-high prices of onion, agriculture minister Abdur Razzaque on Thursday assured in parliament that such problem would not recur in this year.
‘This year onion has been cultivated in more areas than targeted. The production of onion would, therefore, cross 23-24 lakh tonnes… If there is no natural disaster, there will be no problem in this seaon as measures have been taken in this regard,’ he said.
The minister made the remarks while replying to a supplementary question from Awami League lawmaker Ayeen Uddin.
Razzaque said that imports of onion would remain suspended during the crop’s harvesting season so that the farmers got fair prices and were encouraged to cultivate onion, an essential kitchen item, on a larger scale.
The farmers do not get fair prices of onion during the harvesting season, so they lose their interest in cultivating the essential item, he added.
The agriculture minister said that the annual production of onion in the country was 23 to 24 lakh tonnes against the total demand for 30 to 32 lakh tonnes, adding that the deficit was met by importing the item.
He observed that the price hike of onion created resentment and worries among the country’s people.
Now the onion prices have come down to a somewhat stable level to some extent in the market, he added.
The minister said that the government lost control over the market of onion as huge amount of onion was rotting in the fields due to excessive rain during in the last monsoon and India’s sudden suspension of the onion export.
But India has recently withdrawn suspension over onion export, he added.
In reply to a supplementary question from Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal MP Shirin Akter, the minister said that the prices of onion will no way remain Tk 110 per kilogram.
The prices of onions reached Tk 250 in Dhaka and many other districts in November, last year.
While the authorities had been slow to react, the shortage was criminally exploited by some importers, who marked up the prices by nearly three times the import price.
A present per kilogram of onion is selling at Tk 120 to Tk 140 which is triple of normal price.
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