Wednesday, 1 December, 2021

Rise in Onion Production

Traders making hefty profit, farmers deprived of fair price

  • ANM Mohibub Uz Zaman
  • 7 October, 2021 12:00 AM
  • Print news

Farmers are not getting the benefits of a good harvest of onion in the country this season though the traders and hoarders syndicates are making hefty profits by manipulating the market.   

Some 33.62 lakh tonnes of onion were produced in the country this season against the demand for 35 lakh tonnes. Some 552,008 tonnes of onion was imported in FY 2020-21. A total of 233,753 tonnes of onion was imported till September 25 of FY 2021-22, according to the Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE).

Market experts blamed a multi-layered system of middlemen involved in the distribution of onion from farm to consumers for the farmers being deprived of fair prices of their produce.

Traders syndicate is increasing the price of onion since last week though the country has adequate stock of the most common cooking ingredients, they said.

Increasing production of onion in the last season has benefited traders, hoarders and businessmen though the farmers have sold it at very low prices.

Onion prices suddenly increased to Tk 250 a kg in the country in October 2019 following a ban imposed by India on the export of onion. India has also banned onion import in 2020 which also created a crisis of the spices in the country.

The production of onion was much higher at 33.62 lakh tonnes this season from 25.60 lakh tonnes in 2019 and 23.30 lakh tonnes in 2018, according to Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE) data.

Director of DAE Field Service Wing AKM Monirul Alam told the Daily Sun that farmers produced plenty of onion this season but some traders syndicate are increasing price even after purchasing onion from farmers at low prices.

“Taking advantage of the higher production, traders bought onion at lower prices from farmers and now increasing the price after making a syndicate,” he said, adding that they are now controlling the supply of onion.

The price of local onion has increased by 41 per cent in a week to Tk 60-70 per kg on Tuesday from Tk 42-50 a kg one week earlier, according to Trading Corporation Bangladesh (TCB) data.

Newly harvest onions were selling at Tk 1,100-Tk 1,200 per mound (40kg) at the wholesale market in Pabna and fresh bulbs traded at Tk 950 per maund in Faridpur during the harvesting period.

The price of onion stood at Tk 1200-1350 per mound (40 kg) a month earlier at the local market but the price increased to Tk 2,000 -2,300 per mound on Tuesday, according to local sources.

Local farmers cultivated onion on vast tracks of lands despite high seed price.  Onion price has dropped drastically after India announced the lifting of the export ban this month and the Bangladesh government allowed onion import in January 2021.

Farm economist Prof ASM Golam Hafiz said farmers will turn away from onion cultivation if they do not get the fair price, which will create a crisis of onion again next year.

Monirul Alam said the demand for onion in Bangladesh is 35 lakh tonnes against the production of 33 lakh tonnes. A large volume of onion is also being exported.

He also said that around 1 lakh tonnes of the summer variety of onion will hit the market in November and around 3 lakh tonnes (Murikata) will arrive in the market in the first week of January.