Onion prices start rising in Dinajpur, adjoining districts
Onion prices have started soaring in the wholesale and retail markets in Dinajpur and adjacent districts due to scarcity of the vegetable's local variety.
On the other hand, traders of Hili land port, who have been refraining from importing Indian onions due to its low demand in the local market, restarted bringing in the Indian variety on March 4.
According to the traders, the prices of a kilogramme (kg) of onions shot up by Tk 10 within five days. A kg of local onion is now sold at Tk 35-40, up from Tk 25-30.
Indian onions are currently not available in local markets.
Hasinur Rahman, a retailer of Biral upazila in Dinajpur, said he had been selling onion at Tk 25 per kg, which has increased to Tk 35 now.
"The wholesalers of Bahadurbazar in Dinajpur town have been selling onions at an increased rate, he added"
Mazedur Rahman, a wholesale onion trader of Bahadurbazar, said the price had been stable in January and February as the markets were flooded with local onions.
But, suddenly the collection dropped, which pushed up the prices to a great extent.
"The rate was Tk 22-23 per kg just five days ago, which hit Tk 32 now," he said.
Mazedur also said onions produced in Dinajpur and other close districts have already been consumed and now they are procuring it from various districts, including Pabna, Sirajganj, Bogura, Natore, Kusthia and Jamalpur districts.
The traders in these districts have charged them at higher rates and the transportation cost has been higher too, he said.
"Onion prices will become unstable ahead of Ramadan if the upward trend continues this way."
The soaring prices have also worried the consumers in the districts. Rashed Rahman of the Barabandar area of Dinajpur town said: "The price to increase by Tk 2-3 a kg is reasonable, but I don't know why and how the price can increase by Tk 10 a kg in a couple of days."
He urged the government to start monitoring the markets to keep the onion rates lower. Otherwise, the consumers will suffer during Ramadan.
At the end of December last year, a kilogramme of onion was sold at around Tk 75-80 amid the Indian ban, which was imposed in mid-September last year.
The prices started falling at the markets as imports resumed through various ports across the country on January 1 or 2 this year.
Simultaneously, locally produced onion also hit the markets, which brought down the rates to an affordable level for consumers.
Then, consumption of locally produced onion increased despite the adequate supply of Indian onion in the markets.
The situation left a huge quantity of imported onion unsold.
Later, the importers of Hili land port and other ports across the country had stopped importing onion from India on January 27. But, the import resumed again after more than a month.
At least 30 tonnes of onions have been imported through Hili land port on March 4, said Sohrab Hossain Pratap, public relation officer of Panama-Hili Port Link Limited at Hakimpur upazila of Dinajpur.
Kamal Hossain, an importer of Hili land port, said the importers of the port started opening letters of credit to import onion from India when onion prices started soaring in the market.