Hili, Jan 2 – Indian onion started to roll in at Dinajpur’s Hili land port on Saturday after three and half months of the export ban.
Trucks carrying onions from India arrived at the port at 3:30 pm, bringing it back to life.
With the arrival of Indian onion, the price of local onion started to cool off, dropping to Tk30 to Tk32 per kg.
Hili land port Import-Export Group President Harun ur Rashid said the first batch of onion came on Saturday after remaining suspended for a long time.
“Up until now we have opened letters of credit (LCs) to import 6,000 tonnes of onions from India,” he said.
Warehouse owners of Hili port said onion prices dropped by Tk6 to Tk8 per kilogram in the kitchen market and would even get lower.
Local onion is now available at Tk30 to Tk32 which was Tk36 to Tk40 only two days back.
The Indian government lifted the ban on onion export on December 28, which was imposed on September 14 without any prior notice.
India’s sudden decision to suspend the export of all varieties of onion – except those cut, sliced or broken in powder form – triggered a steep rise in onion prices in Bangladesh.
Bangladesh’s onion demand
India exported $198 million onions during April-June of the fiscal year (FY) 2020-21 and $440 million in FY20.
Onion price in Bangladesh shot up to Tk100-120 a kg after India had banned onion export on September 14 this year for the second consecutive year.
The country’s annual demand for the popular kitchen item ranges between 2.2 and 2.5 million tonnes.
Commerce ministry figures show that the amount of onion imported was hardly 0.4 million tonnes in FY09 but reached 1.1 million tonnes in recent years.
The government took prompt steps to import the kitchen staple to cool down the market and sell it through its trading arm Trading Corporation of Bangladesh (TCB).
The prices have been falling for the past few weeks with the TCB offering the item at Tk23 per kg through e-commerce companies.
On Sept 16, Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi told the media that the country had a stock of 600,000 tonnes of onion and asked people not to panic.
Onion prices in Bangladesh saw a 557.8% year-on-year rise last year after India first banned the item’s export, according to TCB data. – UNB