The price of onion is fluctuating in the bazaars indicating a looming crisis again like last year unless concerned authorities are alert and do the needful.
In recent weeks the rise has been steep, but again fell momentarily which indicates an unstable onion market.
The Trading Corporation of Bangladesh has started to its Open Market Sell (OMS) of onion from 13 September, which is helping those who can queue up for long hours. But majority of the Dhaka people cannot do so due to various constraints and are forced to pay extra amid financial difficulties caused by COVID-19.
Last year, India suddenly stopped export of onions causing havoc in Bangladeshi markets and embarrassed the government to a great extent.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina was in New Delhi at that time and expressed her annoyance for the sudden step by her host. She told a select crowd that she has decided not to use onion for cooking at her home.
The government machinery rushed to various other alternative sources, including Egypt and Myanmar, to quickly import onion to stablise the local market.
Both wholesale and retail prices have shot up already in India due to heavy rains that damaged the ready crop, including the largest wholesale onion market in Nashik.
All the major onion producing belt from the southern states of Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka to Gujarat, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh, have reported crop damage and India might have to ban exports again. Hopefully, this time it will inform Dhaka well in advance so that last year’s embarrassment can be avoided.
Media reports, quoting local traders, said the prices are further expected to skyrocket to Rupees 100 per kilogram by October.
Our Commerce Ministry and those monitoring the market should be alert from now by keeping a constant watch to avoid any debacle this time.