Admitting that people suffered a lot due to exorbitant prices of onion, Agriculture Minister Abdur Razzaque told parliament yesterday that the onion crisis would not recur after the next harvest.
“This year, onion has been cultivated on more land than targeted. So, the production will cross 23-24 lakh tonnes if there is no natural disaster,” he said.
The minister was replying to a supplementary question from Awami League lawmaker Ayeen Uddin.
Razzaque said onion imports would be suspended at harvest time so that farmers get fair prices of their produces and feel encouraged to cultivate onion on a large scale.
Farmers do not get fair prices during the harvesting season, leading them to lose interest in growing the cooking item, he opined.
The annual onion production is 23-24 lakh tonnes against the demand for 30-32 lakh tonnes. The deficit of onion is met through imports, the minister said.
He said people were worried over the onion price, but prices have become now stable to some extent.
The government lost control over the onion market as a large quantity of the crop was damaged in fields due to excessive monsoon rain in the last season. Besides, India suspended onion exports suddenly, the minister mentioned.
But India has recently withdrawn its suspension, he added.
Responding to another supplementary question from Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal MP Shirin Akter, Razzaque said onion prices would certainly not remain Tk 110 a kg.
Prices shot through the roof in November last year, reaching up to Tk 250 a kg in Dhaka and many other districts at retail level.
At present, each kg of onion is being sold at Tk 120 to Tk 140, which is three to four times higher than the usual value.