Dhaka: For the past few weeks, the price of potato and onion has skyrocketed in the market. Earlier, there was a kind of unrest due to the increase in the price of eggs. Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi spoke to reporters at the secretariat in the morning about these issues. Highlighting the market situation, he said that the current increase in the price of potatoes or onions will have to wait for at least one and a half months. He said, even if these products are imported, the price reduction will depend a lot on the rise of new products.
He said these things in response to reporters’ questions at the secretariat on Wednesday (November 8). Commerce Minister said, we have 20 percent less onion than what we need. We cover that by importing 90% of which comes from India. Prices have also increased in India. At the moment it is selling at Rs 80 in Kolkata market, which is Rs 110 in our market. We are almost done with onions. That’s why the reduction in onion prices depends a lot on the rise of new onions. The price given by India for import is Rs 95 per kg wholesale in our taka. They cannot export below that. If we import at that price, the market will fall by Tk 120/125. So we have to wait until the new onion grows. Similarly there is shortage of potatoes compared to demand. In early December our new potatoes will begin to emerge. We have started importing. The impact of that has started to fall on the market. I hope that if you continue, the crisis will go away.
Regarding the delay in import of eggs, he said, “We have taken time regarding eggs due to some legal complications. A shipment has arrived. I see the price of eggs between 11 and a half rupees. Hopefully more will come in, so the price can be kept within what has been set.
The Minister of Commerce said that import of potatoes requires the approval of the Minister of Agriculture, but it was not possible to get it even in two months. The approval of the Ministry of Fisheries and Animal Resources is required to import eggs. Timely action is not possible due to complications and delays in obtaining permission from concerned ministries.
As the reason for the increase in the price of vegetables in the market, he said that the price of vegetables is increasing due to seasonal factors, transport, extortion on the way. However, the price of vegetables has started to decrease for a few days. Winter vegetables will arrive in a few days. Then the price of domestically produced vegetables will continue to decrease in the market.
Regarding the overall market situation, he said that prices have not increased much in the global situation. But the price is higher than our income. That’s a big problem. That is why the salary of the worker who had 8 thousand taka, has been increased to 12 and a half thousand. Economists say when there is inflation, prices cannot be controlled by the Ministry of Commerce.
The Commerce Minister expressed hope that the price of onion and potato will come down in the middle of December. He said, we have spoken to the Ministry of Home Affairs to stop extortion. They are also trying. Even three years ago, the farmers had to throw away the potatoes as they could not sell them. All these depend on supply and demand. All in all, the price of everything has gone up. Fuel prices have increased. There is a global impact. India is economically strong. It went up to 80 taka per kg. Export has stopped. All in all, we are in danger.
In response to the question that the price of products in the market is not decreasing before the election, he said that there is no relation between onion and potato. Elections do not wait for onions and potatoes to emerge from the soil. Onions will not wait for the election again. Elections will go like that, onions and potatoes will rise according to the season.
In response to the question whether the price increase will affect the polls, the commerce minister said that the spokesperson of Awami League can say that.