The State Trading Organization (STO), in a bid to stabilise runaway onion prices in the Maldives, will import and sell onions to wholesalers at controlled rates, the company has announced. Traders and wholesalers have been strongly urged to sell onions to the public at below MVR 20 per kilogram.

While the prices of onions, mainly imported from India, has been on the rise since August with prices peaking in October at MVR 400 per sack and prices in December now varying between MVR 800 and 900 per sack, STO had been inundated with complaints about the constant price hikes, the company said.

With one of its main founding objectives being to ensure food security for the country, STO has now taken steps to address the concerns of the public, the state-owned trading company said in a statement on Sunday.

STO’s statement explained that the company has now identified the demand for onions in the Maldivian market and initiated onion imports in a bid to stabilise the price in the market and ensure availability. An initial shipment of 4,500 sacks has already been imported and will be sold to the public via local traders, the statement said. Onion will be made available to those traders on condition that they do not exceed the maximum price, fixed as less than MVR 20 per kilogramme.

“The initial shipment of imported onions has now been released to traders, and STO’s aim is to stabilise the price,” the company said. STO also assured the public that it would continue to supply onions to the market until the onion supply shortage is resolved and the market stabilises.