Onion farmers across the country are suffering huge losses due to low price of the vegetable at the farm level.
Farmers will lose interest in onion farming as they can hardly recover the production cost from onion sale, said farm economist professor ASM Golam Hafeez.
Onion was selling at Tk 400-800 per mound (40 kg) in onion production hubs Faridpur, Padna, Rajbari, Jhenaidah, Kushtia, Meherpur and some other districts, local sources said.
This year, the farmers are selling onion at 10-20 per kg, down from Tk 25-30 per kg last year, said Shamsul, a farmer from Kushtia.
Onion price has dropped drastically after the government extended the import permit last month.
The import permit (IP) of onion expired in March but the government has extended the permit through a circular during the peak harvesting period. The government decision allowed the importers and traders to get the duty-cut facility on onion import during the peak onion harvesting season.
“I have cultivated hybrid onion on two bighas of land at a cost Tk 80,000 but I made only Tk 98,000 from my onion sale,” a farmer said.
“Farmers will turn away from onion cultivation if they do not get the fair price and there will be a crisis again in future,” he said.
“Farmer cultivated onion on 2.56 lakh hectors of land this year and the production is expected to be around 34 lakh tones,” according to DAE.
The onion output stood at around 22 lakh tones after the completion of the 64 percent harvesting across the country, said Khandakar M. Rashed Iftekher, additional deputy director of Field Service Wing at DAE.
He said the country’s demand for onion increased to 37 lakh tonnes from 35 lakh tones last year.
Bangladesh produced 33.62 lakh tonnes of onion last year while the import stood at far six lakh tonnes, according to DAE data.