Agriculture Minister Dr Muhammad Abdur Razzaque has expressed concern as farmers are harvesting immature and leafy onions amid the skyrocketing of prices of the cooking staple.
The minister said, "Onions are yet to be mature. We are worried as farmers are selling the small bulbs. What will happen in January? Onion production is likely to shrink then."
Abdur Razzaque said this while inaugurating Farmers' Market at Manik Mia Avenue area in Dhaka on Friday.
He said the increase in prices may boost onion cultivation in this and next year. However, Razzaque feared that an increased yield may deprive farmers of fair prices.
The agriculture minister said, "Our farmers do not get fair prices of onion due to import of the kitchen staple during peak season. We have requested the commerce ministry to suspend the import of the cooking ingredient during its harvesting season."
In the meantime, onion kept spreading discontent among the people on Friday as prices showed no sign to calm down. Locally grown old onions were selling at Tk240-250 per kilogram while newly-harvested onions were at Tk180-190.
Imported Burmese, Pakistani, Egyptian and Chinese onions were respectively selling at Tk200-220, Tk140-160 and Tk120-Tk150 per kilogram.
Agriculture Minister Dr Razzaque has commented that there is no need to control the rice market for ensuring a fair price to the farmers.
"We have enough rice in stock and there is no reason to worry about. The rice market is under full control," he commented.
Dr Razzaque said, "As the prices are within the reach of the people, the government cannot run the Open Market Sale of rice. The prices of the fine varieties of rice have risen slightly. But this is completely fine as farmers are getting fair prices of paddy due to this slight rise in rice price.
"I underwent huge criticism when farmers had to sell paddy at Tk450-500 per maund in the last season, while the production cost wasTk600-700," added the minister.
The agriculture minister also informed the media that Bangladesh exported agricultural products including vegetables, shrimps and read meat worth around
Tk800 million in the last year. The sector posted a 34 percent growth in that time.
"We are growing insecticide-free vegetables which will bring in more foreign currencies," hoped Razzaque.