Agriculture Minister Dr. Abdur Razzaque said that the prices of all vegetables will come down as winter approaches.

"Winter is coming, and there will be enough vegetables. The prices of all vegetables will come down. Oil prices are high in the international market, and other costs have also increased. There is inflation in the country; considering these factors, the prices of vegetables and many other products are high," he said.

The Minister made these remarks after the meeting of the Food Planning and Monitoring Committee (FPMC) at the Cabinet Conference Room today (October 8).

Commenting on the ability of the people in the country to buy 'basic food items', he said, "Approximately 65-70 percent of a person's food expenses for survival are allocated to rice. Rice is the primary food ingredient, and despite challenges with the prices of onions and potatoes, there is no issue with rice.."

Commenting on the 'much' discussion about commodity prices in the media, he urged the media to spotlight the government's strength in ensuring food security and said, "The prices of many agricultural products are a bit abnormally high, especially the price of onion and potato, is high. There are long-standing issues that depend on pulse and oil imports. We can't have much influence there."

"All things considered, we are in a good position in terms of rice production, distribution, and people's food security this year. In this regard, I am drawing the special attention of journalist friends to the subject you will highlight. We cannot control the price of onions; we cannot control the price of potatoes. We are acknowledging that. That is our weakness. But please also highlight our strengths in the media."

Regarding importing rice, the minister said, "Since July until now, we have not had to import rice. We are in a very good position in this regard. Despite achieving the target set for rice collection in the last Boro season, we managed to collect more than 2 lakh tons. At the moment, there is a downward trend in the price of rice in the market. It is possible that the price of rice in the market is low and the government price is high, so the millers are very eager to supply us with rice."

Responding to a question about whether the ministry has given up on the prices of potatoes and onions, the agriculture minister said they have not given up at all.

He hinted at the lack of coordination and joint efforts between the ministries and said, "We are still quite active. The production part is the responsibility of the Ministry of Agriculture. The Ministry of Commerce is responsible for monitoring the market. Even then, a government cannot escape its responsibility. In a cabinet system, all ministers have joint responsibility. In the presidential form, the president performs all duties. In the cabinet system of government, all ministers are responsible for all activities, including the Hon'ble Prime Minister."

"That's why we didn't give up at all. We are trying. The cold storage owners are very uncooperative; they are not supplying properly. This is a significant hindrance. They stop supplying when our officials pressurize them at the field level; then they shut down. Despite that, efforts are continuing," he added.

The agriculture minister also said that as onion is a very perishable agricultural product, the country faces a crisis.

"Onions are picked in April-May. We have to import in November-December. Last year there was enough onion; farmers could not sell. The same happened to potatoes thrown on the street; this time the situation is reversed. As the production decreased by two to three lakhs, cold storage owners and vendors are making huge profits from this opportunity. They shouldn't make so much profit. They are selling for 40-50 rupees, which does not cost even TK20," he continued.

Razzak said that a new technology has been introduced to preserve onions and said, "If onions are kept in this way, not even 5 percent will rot. If we can adopt this technology, we will not have to import any onions from abroad in the next two years. Scientists have developed new varieties that produce 40-50 tons per hectare. There will be no onion crisis in Bangladesh in the coming days."

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