If the government does not take measures to stop the import, it will deprive onion farmers of a fair price
Farmers in the country have asked the government to stop importing onions from India because the local harvest season of the crop has started.
Farmers formed a human chain in front of the National Press Club in the capital on Wednesday to press their demand to the government.
They said businessmen have started importing onions from India at a time when local farmers are harvesting their crops. If the government does not take any measure to stop the import, it will deprive the onion farmers of a fair price.
Farmers have cultivated more onions this year because the price is high in the market. The total harvest could surpass 22 lakh tonnes while the annual demand is 24 lakh tonnes. Onion production is high across the country, especially in regions like Pabna, Faridpur and Rajshahi, they said.
Farmers claim that Indian onions have lowered the price of the item in the local market to Tk40-50 per kilogram.
"We cultivated more onions this year in the hopes of a higher price. But the decision has backfired. Indian onions are being imported at a low price. As a result, farmers are finding it difficult to sell their onions even at Tk20 per kg," said Sirajul Islam, an onion farmer who joined the event.
A recent report by the Bangladesh Trade and Tariff Commission (BTTC) given to the commerce ministry said that farmers will make a profit if they sell their onions for Tk20 per kg. According to Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi, the production cost of onions is Tk16-17 per kg this year.
The commission recommended imposing 30-35 percent tariff on imported onions to stabilise the price in the market. The BTTC also recommended imposing the tariff every year from February to May as a protective measure.
The ministry is yet to take a decision regarding this.