The Ministry of Agriculture plans to allow the import of onions during the month of Ramadan in a bid to protect the interests of consumers and farmers in Bangladesh.
Rebuffing reports indicating that the ministry had planned to halt imports ahead of the Islamic holy month, Agriculture Secretary MD Sayedul Islam on Tuesday said, “I saw some media reports which said that the issuance of import permits would be stopped after Mar 26. But no such initiative has been taken by the ministry.”
The ministry has not received any instructions to stop issuing new permits, according to the secretary.
Earlier this week, the commerce ministry had asked the agriculture ministry to allow onion imports until Eid-ul-Fitr to keep the commodity market stable during Ramadan amid a price spiral. Sayedul's remarks are indicative of the agriculture ministry's response to the request.
“We are taking into account the interests of both farmers and consumers in allowing the import of onions. So far, farmers have been getting a good price for onions.
"The holy month of Ramadan is also approaching so we are taking steps to ensure that the price of onions doesn't rise. So, the Ministry of Agriculture doesn't have any plan to stop the import of onions at present.”
However, the ministry will be monitoring the market closely to keep prices in check, according to him.
Highlighting an upward trend in onion prices recently, the secretary said. “In light of that, the agriculture ministry reintroduced import permits [to curb prices] after the facility had temporarily been put on hold. We are seeing the results of the move in the market."
"Now, media reports show that the price of onion is trending down. You will notice that the price of imported onions has fallen but the local produce is fetching our farmers a good price.”