Onion Market of Bangladesh: Role of different Players and Assessing Competitiveness
Accelerating growth, generating employment and reducing poverty and inequality are the predominant goals of the current development paradigm in Bangladesh. The country has been recorded as a lower middle income country by the World Bank with per capita Gross National Income (GNI) of US$1080 (Atlas method, current US dollars 2014) and it is expected that in near future Bangladesh will be eligible to apply for graduating to a developing country from the current status of a least developed country (LDC) according to the definition of the United Nations. Though Bangladesh is pursuing a manufacturing-led development strategy, agriculture is still an important source of gross domestic product (GDP) and the dominant source of employment. Despite these remarkable achievements, the country’s development process is still marked by several major challenges, such as high incidence of poverty, growing inequality in income and assets, and persistent food insecurity among poor. Volatility in the price of a range of essential food items aggravates the food security situation. Specially, sudden rise in essential products like onion fuels dissatisfaction not only among poor but also middle income households. If price volatility is associated with sub-optimal level of competition in the market, then correction to price volatility could be managed by bringing more competition in the markets of these commodities. Often it has been difficult to understand reasons behind price volatility because of lacks in correct insight regarding various actors associated to the value chain of those commodities and their roles in the market. Roles of different actors actually frame the level of competition in the market. If there is lacks in competition, then certain groups of actors can influence the market. Thus it is important to understand the roles of different actors in the markets and their power (if any) to control the market at different level of the value chain.