General

Onion supply glut in Khulna puts TCB in dilemma

Onions prices are cooling down in Khulna with the arrival of new batches in the market, thinning the previously seen long queues of people in front of Trading Corporation of Bangladesh (TCB) trucks to buy the commodity.

But supply glut has now put TCB in a fix with about 50 tonnes of onion stored at its Khulna warehouse.

Relatively low prices mean that people are not turning to TCB for the popular kitchen item and buying it from the market instead. The prices shot up to Tk 100-120 a kg after India had banned onion export on September 14 this year for a second time in two years.

The government took prompt steps to import the kitchen staple to cool down the market and sell it through its trading arm TCB.

TCB officer Anisur Rahman said they have been selling two tonnes of onion every day at five points in Khulna at Tk 30 per kg. But the prices have fallen to Tk 20 a kg now.

“Prices are falling with the new onion season. People are gradually losing interest in imported onion,” he said.

Bangladesh’s annual demand for the popular kitchen item ranges between 2.2 and 2.5 million tonnes. Commerce Ministry figures show the amount imported was hardly 0.4 million tonnes in FY09, but had touched up to 1.1 million tonnes in recent years.

Prices to fall further

Anisur Rahman is optimistic about selling the 50 tonnes of onion in the stock. “I’m monitoring the situation myself,” he said without elaborating how the huge stock will be sold.

But one of the dealers, speaking on condition of anonymity, said they are being forced to take two tonnes of onion every day. “We’ve stopped receiving goods for this reason,” he said.

TCB trucks selling onion were absent at some points in the city on Thursday where they are usually seen.

Last week, TCB slashed online onion prices to Tk 23 from Tk 36.

In the retail market, the usual buzz was gone and traders were sitting idly. The old onions, which cost relatively higher, were hardly selling.

One of the traders said one of the reasons was the arrival of new onions in the market. “They are on high demand,” the owner of Arman Traders said.

Good quality onion costs Tk 40-45 per kg while the moderate quality product was selling for Tk 30.

“Consumers are mostly buying the mid-quality variety,” he said.

With the arrival of more onion, the prices will fall further in the next two weeks, the trader said.

Source: United News of Bangladesh