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Bangladesh to import onions from 10 countries after India bans export

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DHAKA : Amid India’s recent ban on onion export, the government has permitted local traders to import the commodity from 10 other countries to control the soaring prices in Bangladesh.

The sharp price hike following the ban has now been curbed due to a sufficient supply of the local early season breed in the domestic market.

However, many local traders who were expecting to make windfall profits are now fearing losses due to the falling prices of onions in Bangladesh.

According to the Ministry of Agriculture, traders have been granted permits to import onions from at least 10 countries following the sudden increase in India’s export duty since August.

In the coming days, Bangladesh expects to import onions from China, Egypt, Myanmar, the Netherlands, Pakistan, Qatar, Thailand, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates and the USA.

Although onion shipments have already arrived from nearly half of these countries, traders have yet to bring the product from Egypt, Myanmar, the Netherlands, Qatar, and Turkey.

However, Bangladeshi onion traders say they will not use the import permits they received from the government for fear of incurring losses.

The government said Bangladesh has imported more than 700,000 tonnes of onions, including 600,000 tonnes from India, in the current financial year, against import permits for over 2 million tonnes.

For the past month, onion prices in the domestic market ranged between Tk 100 and Tk 120 per kg.

The prices suddenly doubled  after India announced its ban on onion exports.

In the last three days, onion prices have returned to their previous rate of Tk 100-Tk 130 at some places in Dhaka as demand fell sharply after the price hike.

Abdul Majed, an onion wholesaler and importer, said prices have started to fall as the early season’s fresh onions have started entering the market in large quantities.

On Tuesday, the wholesalers sold the new arrivals at Tk 60 per kg, which was priced at Tk 90 the day before.

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