Onion pricier on Ramadan demand
Imported onion is being sold at higher prices in the retail market because of increased demand on the occasion of Ramadan and a lack of steps aimed at reining in the price of the popular cooking ingredient.
Yesterday, imported onion sold for Tk 35 to Tk 40 a kg in the Dhaka market, up from Tk 25 to Tk 30 a month ago, although importers are allowed to bring it from India duty-free, according to data from state-run Trading Corporation of Bangladesh.
In the week to May 19, some 10,075 tonnes of onion were imported from the neighbouring country through the Benapole land port.
As per the export price of India, onion is being imported at $205 or Tk 17,015 a tonne. If all costs are added up, the import price through the port stands at Tk 19 per kg.
The import of onion is less than the demand and the transport cost has also increased, said Feroz Ahmed, an importer.
Sukur Ali, owner of Mim Banijjya Bhanadar in Benapole, said they are buying Indian onion at Tk 23 per kg and selling for Tk 25 in the retail market.
He said a portion of the imported onion gets rotten because of heat, compelling them to increase the price of the item to offset losses. Roksana Khatun Brishty, a retail customer, said onion price increases before Ramadan every year.
“Politicians also assure us that the price will not go up but it doesn't materialise. Consumers have to count extra for the essential item,” she added. Another customer said an effective monitoring of the imported price and the retail price could bring the price of the item under control.
Syed Ahmed Rubel, deputy commissioner of Benapole Customs House, said the import of onion increased ahead of Ramadan. He said officials have been directed to quickly release the consignment from the port.