Consumers bear the brunt of India’s onion export ban

A substantial fall of Tk 25-35 per kg in the wholesale market has had little impact at the retail level where the popular kitchen item continues to be sold at high prices.


The local variety of onion was being sold at Tk 90-100 while the imported ones cost Tk 50-80 in Dhaka’s markets and shops on Monday, a week after India’s onion export ban sent the prices through the roof in Bangladesh.


But despite the release of Indian onion consignments at the border and bolstered TCB truck and online sale, the prices remained the same in the retail and online shops.


Local variety is being sold at Tk 89-102/kg and the Indian variety at Tk 60-70/kg at online market like, meenaclick, shwapno and others.


Moumi Khandkar, a banker, told UNB the price was Tk 90 on Monday, Tk 30 more than a week ago.


Shanir Akhra businessman Shah Alam who came to collect his kitchen items said there was no sign of the prices falling.


A regular customer of Sumn Patowary told UNB that he purchased a kg of onion for Tk 90 which was Tk 58 a week ago. “We don’t understand why the price of is so high without any reason. Our traders are much corrupted. The government has failed to monitor every time,” he said.


However, the state-run Trading Corporation of Bangladesh (TCB) continued its OMS programme through 275 truck points, including 40 in Dhaka city.


TCB was selling onion at a subsidised rate of Tk 30 a kg while it will also sell onion through online shops at Tk 36.


The government has also withdrawn 5 percent duty on onion import in an effort to cool down the overheated local market shaken up by India’s export ban.


The official release says this decision will remain effective until March 31, 2021.


The commerce ministry also said there is a stock of 0.56 million tonnes of onion in the country now while monthly demand is 0.2 million tonnes.


According to the Commerce Ministry, the annual demand for onion in Bangladesh ranges between 2.2 and 2.5 million tonnes. Although the country’s own annual production has risen, so has the amount imported over the last decade.


Commerce Ministry figures show the amount imported was hardly 0.4 million tons in FY09, but had touched up to 1.1 million tons in recent years.


Soon after India’s export ban, Bangladesh decided to import the bulb from multiple sources to ensure enough supply of the cooking ingredient in the local markets.


In line with the decision, the government has already taken steps to import onions from Turkey and Egypt, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Sept 16.


The consignments are expected to reach Chittagong port early next month.


Dhaka requested Delhi to withdraw its ban as soon as possible, keeping the import of onion from India uninterrupted.


Source: United News of Bangladesh