Onion market in a mess
I t is disturbing to note that despite stock of onions aplenty in the country - price of this essential kitchen item is soaring beyond the purchasing capacity of common people. And what has been published in this regard in a recent news report of this daily is not only unfortunate, equally alarming.
Allegedly, a section of unscrupulous commerce ministry officials and law enforcing agencies are playing an active role for a vicious syndicate, prompt behind creating an artificial crisis in the onion market. What can be a bigger example of when protectors turn into predators? Reportedly, the price of onion has already increased by Tk 20 per kg within a difference of week and retailers assume that it may shoot up to Tk 90 by this week - unless government's price regulating authorities' concerned does not take appropriate measures immediately.
However, wholesalers now are showing excuses of Durga Puja and heavy rains in India behind decline in onion imports. But these lame excuses gains no ground as the Department of Agriculture Extension has confirmed that the country produces 33 lakh tonnes of onion per year against the demand of 28 lakh tonnes. It clearly suggests that the ongoing price hike of onions is the result of market manipulation out of quick profit mongering tendency.
In the midst of mud-slinging and continuing blame games between retailers and wholesalers, it is the common people who are bearing the brunt cutting their purse to size. Such malpractice haunts us back to the days in 2019 when onion price skyrocketed to Tk 300 per kg with India's ban on onion export. The quantity of onions the administration provided then for open sales also fell much short of demand. Undoubtedly, India's ban then was criminally exploited by our local exporters to a great extent.
We have enough reasons to believe, this time too, these crooked traders have resorted to a technique of spreading rumours and fear - in a bid to create an artificial crisis out of 'stock' mentality. Such unethical price hike not only happens in the case of onions. Hiking price of various daily commodities centring Ramadan or any other festival or season has become a regular practice in our country. Making profit is legal in business, but that must not cross the boundary of fair business practices. Such corrupt practice in the name of doing business cannot be allowed.
The current price hike of onion clearly testifies to administration�s failure to tackle the syndicate. It is the image of a total mess prevailing in the market. And certainly the onus lies on our price regulating and law enforcement agencies to prevent the country from facing a dire situation regarding the onion market witnessed in 2019. We call on the government to ensure proper steps including punitive measures against the syndicate to restore discipline in the onion market.