Demand sags on arrival of local variety
TALHA BIN HABIB |
December 29, 2019 10:10:47
December 29, 2019 13:41:15
The government’s trading arm TCB might land in trouble with the onion in its stock as the new harvest and imports have sapped the demand in the local market.
The Trading Corporation of Bangladesh (TCB) now sees no rush of consumers at their open sales points.
Most of the consumers are reluctant to purchase the imported item from the TCB dealers, as the market prices have now declined.
The TCB is worried that the onion in its stock may perish, if it remains unsold, according to market insiders.
The subsidised onion of the TCB had been in high demand, when the prices of its local variety had hit Tk 260 a kg in the local market. The imported varieties had hovered between Tk 150 and Tk 160 a kg.
The TCB then had come up with a large-scale market intervention to tame the unprecedented price volatility.
The TCB had deployed trucks at different parts of the city to sell the item at Tk 45 per kg and there had been a heavy rush of consumers for buying it at the subsidised rate.
But the prices later climbed down after arrival of the newly-harvested onion in the market and the import glut.
At present the local variety of onion is being sold at Tk 120 a kg and the imported ones at Tk 60 to Tk 65.
Against this backdrop, the TCB has also cut its price to Tk 35 from Tk 45 previously to attract the consumers to purchase it from their designated dealers.
But the demand for the TCB’s onion sagged to a great extent despite the price cut, according to the market insiders.
A section of consumers said the quality of TCB’s onion was not up to the level that is required for consumption.
“I don’t purchase TCB’s onion any more as its quality is not up to the mark,” said Md Halim Sheikh, a private service holder, while talking to the FE at Motijheel in the city on Thursday last.
He said he had earlier purchased onion from the TCB dealers as he had noticed their quality had been good. But now he thinks the quality is not up to the mark.
Over 200 TCB dealers are now engaged in selling onion using trucks in different areas of the city to ease the woes of consumers, especially the middle and lower-middle income groups of people.
Visiting different spots in the city on Thursday last, this FE correspondent found no long queues of consumers at sales points of TCB’s truck dealers.
At present, around 9,000 tonnes of onion, imported in both public and private sectors, are lying at the Chattogram seaport, according to a source in the TCB.
Preferring anonymity, a TCB dealer told the FE on Thursday last that he sold around 300 kg of onion against the allocation of 1,000 kg.
He opined that if the reluctance of consumers continued, the TCB might be in dire straits with their imported stock of onion.
He suggested a further cut in the TCB price, not to let the stock rot or go to waste.
However, a high official of the TCB refuted the allegations made by the consumers.
He said the TCB was selling fresh onion.
“We sell fresh onion. The allegations of selling rotten onion are not true,” spokesperson of the TCB Md Humayun Kabir told the FE.
He said the TCB had a sufficient stock of onion.