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Price Hike In India

Govt moves to import onion from other sources

Published : Tuesday, 17 September, 2019 at 12:00 AM  Count : 168

Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi

Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi

The government has decided to import onion from Myanmar, Egypt and Turkey to beef up supply in the local market following more than a three-fold rise of export price of onion by the Indian government.
The government has meanwhile decided to sell onion in open market at affordable price to common people to reduce its impact. It was scheduled to start from yesterday (Monday) but has been delayed by one day to organize collection to put on sale in city streets.
Bangladesh is mainly dependent on onion import from India because of its closer proximity across the border. But the Indian government has taken Bangladesh by surprise by escalating export price at US$ 850 per tonne from $ 300 per tonne early last week.
Import remains suspended through land ports which is likely to create further supply shortfall in the market. Meanwhile imports under existing L/Cs is also facing setback as Indian customs are not clearing the consignment asking for amending the L/Cs paying at renewed rate.  
So the government has decided to import from other sources where onion is available at lower cost. But since the other supply sources are at a distance except, Myanmar, the arrival from those sources will take some time, the minister said.
Meanwhile the Commerce Ministry has asked Bangladesh Bank to allow opening of new L/Cs at lower  margin and lower interest to expedite the fresh onion imports.
Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi said the government will supply onion for open market sale from local reserves and using those waiting for clearance in the port. Meanwhile it hopes fresh import will arrive.  
He said, "We are trying to stop onion imports from India. The Indian market is taking advantage of rising prices in the Indian market. But some importers in Bangladesh are taking advantage of the situation raising onion prices of their existing stock.
Prices shot at Tk 80 per kg overnight on Sunday from Tk 50. He said dishonest stockings and traders would be identified and punished, he said.
The Minister said, "We have convened an urgent meeting with the businessmen of onion market today (Tuesday). The next to-do will be resolved shortly after this meeting, he said.
According to traders, Bangladesh consumes about 28 lakh tonnes of onion annually, of which about 50 percent are met with local produce and the rest with imported one mainly from India.  

In fiscal year 2017-18, 2.33 million tonnes of onions were produced in the country.
Bangladesh Tariff Commission (BTC) sources said a total of 20-22 lakh tonnes of onion is needed to cope up with the annual demand. Currently local production stands at 17-18 tonnes and the rest is imported.

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