Supply Chain Council of European Union |

Consumers cut consumption as onion prices spin out of control

The price gap between retail and wholesale markets is around Tk50 per kg

Consumers have reduced consumption of onion as many of them cannot afford the high prices of the essential cooking ingredient, which has also led to its reduced sale of the item at kitchen markets. 

Housewife Sheuli Begum has lessened consumption of onion since last month to cut additional costs. 

Talking to Dhaka Tribune at Shantinagar Bazar, she said: “I bought only 250gm onion instead of planned one kg. Were it not an essential item, I could have stopped buying it.”

Iman Ali, a wholesaler at Kawranbazar, said he usually sold 100kg to 120kg of onion every day but yesterday he sold only 17kg as people reduced their intake due to high prices. 

On Sunday, onion prices dropped a little to Tk230 to Tk240 per kg in Dhaka city’s retail markets. The item sold at Tk240 to Tk260 per kg a day ago. 

However, the price gap between retail and wholesale markets is around Tk50 per kg. 

On Sunday, per kg local variety of onion retailed for Tk230 to Tk240 while those imported from Myanmar sold for Tk220 to Tk230 and those imported from Turkey for Tk190 to Tk200 per kg at Malibagh, Shantinagar and Shukrabad kitchen markets. 

At Karwanbazar wholesale market, traders were selling a sack of five kg local onion for Tk900 to Tk1000. On the other hand, five kg imported onion sold between Tk800 and Tk900. 

Rotten onions sold for Tk120 to Tk150 per kg at Karwanbazar. 

“People have reduced their onion consumption owing to high price. I sold only two kg onion till noon,” said Rahim Molla, a retailer at Shukrabad kitchen market. 

Asraful Alam, a private official, who went to Karwanbazar to buy onions, was shocked at the spiraling prices.

“Such a high price of onion I have never seen in my lifetime. I bought only a kg onion, instead of planned four kg,” he said. 

Venting his frustration, Asraful said the government should deal the crisis with iron hands as dishonest traders were behind the skyrocketing prices of onion.

The price of onion dropped a little at Shyambazar wholesale market. Yesterday, local onion sold at Tk190 to Tk200 per kg, which was at Tk200 to Tk210 per kg a day ago. 

Imported onion sold for Tk170 to Tk190 per kg. 

Talking to Dhaka Tribune, Mamun Khan, a wholesaler at Shyambazar, said that the onion price dropped a little owing to the government’s import initiatives. 

“But still our supply is insignificant for the demand,” he added. 

LCs (letter of credits) have been opened to import 75,000 tons of onion from Myanmar, Turkey, China, Pakistan and Uzbekistan to contain its abnormal price hike. 

On the other hand, 6,145 tons of onion were already imported between October 12 and November 12, according to the data of Chittagong Customs. 

On September 29, the Indian government banned the export of onion with immediate effect until further order in order to improve their domestic availability of onions.

To tackle the situation, the Trading Corporation of Bangladesh (TCB) started selling onion from early October through open market sale (OMS) scheme at various points across the capital.

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