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Country needs 24 lakh tonnes onion a year

Published : Thursday, 5 December, 2019 at 12:00 AM  Count : 300

The annual demand for onion in the country is 24 lakh tonnes in a year when local production hovers around 23 lakh tonnes.
Being a perishable item, some estimates say around 30 percent of the stock get lost through rot and lack of proper storage. As a result, the overall supply shortfall stands at 7.5 lakh tonnes, Commerce Ministry sources said.
The sources said, Bangladesh import over 12.71 lakh tonnes mainly from India. That means over five lakh tonnes are supposed to be available as surplus in the market.  
However, a number of market analysts disputed the government claim.  
So there is no question of supply shortfall. What is noticeable in the market is an artificial crisis trading syndicates are pressing.
A total 12.71 lakh tonnes of onion have been imported from India. That means over five lakh tonnes are still surplus. There is still almost one more month before the end of the year. So where did this onion go?
According to sources, the government imports 95 percent onion to cover the deficit from India in September, October and November. But India imposed a ban onion
export of onion on September 23.
Bangladesh Bank information said a total of 22 lakh tones of onion were imported in the fiscal year 2018-19 while in the current fiscal year 4.72 lakh tonnes of onion have been imported from July to November.
Bangladesh is mainly dependent on onion import from India because of its closer proximity. But the Indian government took Bangladesh by surprise by increasing export price to US$ 850 per tonne from $ 300 per tonne early September.
Import remains suspended through land ports which is likely to create further supply shortfall in the market.
Meanwhile imports under existing L/Cs is also facing setback as Indian customs are not clearing the consignment asking for amending the L/Cs paying at renewed rate.  
Jafar Uddin, commerce secretary, said the department of consumer's rights protection and other agencies of the government are monitoring the prices of onion in the market.
"The monitoring has been strengthened and we hope that the prices will come down soon," he said.

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