The ongoing onion crisis has become a sensitive subject triggering widespread discontent with political ramifications, said Agriculture Minister Muhammad Abdur Razzaque.
"There is a crisis of onion now and it has become a political issue," he told a field-day exhibition at Meherpur upazila on Sunday. He joined the event from the Secretariat virtually.
Shaking off import dependency, the country wants to become self-sufficient in onion production, said Razzaque, adding that summer onion varieties have the potential to help achieve the self-sufficiency.
"Cultivation of this variety will have to be spread across the country," he further said.
The field-day sample harvest showed that the yield of Bari-5 summer onion is around 19 tonnes per hectare. Some 179 farmers in Meherpur cultivated the variety on 25 acres of land this year.
Asking the Department of Agricultural Extension and Bangladesh Agricultural Development Corporation to spread the variety quickly, the minister said the government will provide the onion growers with all-out supports including seeds, ingredients and technologies.
Abdur Razzaque said district and upazila-level committees will be formed to ensure low-cost loans to onion farmers.
"There are agri-loans for cultivation of spices, including onion and garlic, only at 4% interest. However, it is regretting that actual farmers do not get the loans," commented the agriculture minister.