October 22, 2020, 3:07 am

Staff Correspondent

2020-10-12 10:40:52 BdST

Govt moves to build cold storage for onion

The government has decided to build a cold storage for onion aiming to ensure the supply of the key spice item during the lean period, officials said.

Provisionally, the proposed storage will be set up in Faridpur, an important onion producing hub of the country.

Trading Corporation of Bangladesh (TCB) is the project implementing agency.

To this effect, a meeting has been held at the ministry recently with commerce secretary Md Jafar Uddin in the chair.

The meeting has taken decision to set up the proposed storage in Faridpur district. TCB will finance the project, according to the meeting.

The meeting has also discussed various onion preserving processes including the technical side, long-term and short-term preconditions, modern preservation process of the widely-consumed item.

The move has been taken to set up the cold storage for storing onion after India imposed export ban on onion in September last and that the prices of the spice shot up to Tk 120 per kilogram in the local market.

The prices of onion had shot up to Tk 300 per kilogram due to an export ban on the spice by India in September, 2019.

And it prompted the government to take some steps including construction of storage to check the galloping onion prices, a high official of the ministry said.

On the basis of maturity and humidity, onion is divided into three grades-A, B and C.

Only A grade onion is eligible for storing for a long time in the country while B grade onion is eligible for a short time.

There are three methods of preserving onions. They are: box, bag and bulk storage methods. Box and bag storages are eligible for storing onion for a long period.

Some 1.0-1.1 million tonnes of onion are imported every year to meet the demand for roughly 2.5 million tonnes.

But the demand for the spice increases every year with rising population and multiple uses of the vegetable.

The country has to import onion due to a mismatch between annual demand and production. Import reliance varies from 25-35 percent of the total demand.

Some 25 percent of local onion and 12-15 percent of imported one get damaged during processing.

Currently, TCB has three warehouses in Dhaka, Narayanganj and Chattogram to store its different products.

A proposal has been submitted to set up a cold storage financed by the government, according to commerce ministry documents. The implementing period of the project is from July 2020 to June 2023.

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