• Tuesday, Feb 18, 2020
  • Last Update : 03:02 pm

'No more onion import from India'

  • Published at 08:56 pm January 25th, 2020
Representational Image Mahmud Hossain Opu/Dhaka tribune

The Rangpur-4 MP also assured there would be no crisis of soybean oil and sugar in  Ramadan

Bangladesh will stop importing onions from India from now on, Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi has said.

"Last year's export ban without any notice was a lesson for us, which prompted the government to boost local production by providing incentives to farmers," he said on Saturday, speaking to the media at his Rangpur residence, reports Bangla Tribune.

The Rangpur-4 MP assured there would be no crisis of soybean oil and sugar in Ramadan, adding: “We have initiated measures to triple imports of soybean oil.”

According to him, locally produced sugar is enough to meet demand in Ramadan.

The price of onions skyrocketed in Bangladesh when India banned its export of onions in September last year, with immediate effect.

File photo of Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi | Mehedi Hasan/Dhaka TribuneIndia exported 2.2 million tons of fresh onions in fiscal year 2018-19 up until Mar 30, according to a Reuters report.

During that time, Bangladesh imported 578,111 tons of the kitchen staple from India, according to data compiled by India’s Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority.

Bangladesh's dependency on India for imported onions created the onion crisis last year. Onion prices crossed Tk 250 a kg in local markets at one point.

In a bid to tackle the crisis, the government started open market sales across the country and imported onions from Turkey, Egypt, Pakistan, and Myanmar.

Bangladesh consumes more onions than the country produces annually.

According to the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics, the country's onion production in 2016-17 fiscal was 1.86 million tons against a demand for 2.4 million tons.

In August last year, the commerce ministry said the country had 1.6 million tons of onions in stock and that the quantity was good enough to meet local demand.

Bangladesh is eighth on the Food and Agricultural Organization's (FAO) list of top ten countries producing onions.

China tops the FAO list with annual production of 24.28 million tons, followed by India at 22.42 million tons, USA 3.73 million tons, Iran 2.37 million tons, Egypt 2.37 million tons, Russian Federation 2.13 million tons, Turkey 2.13 million tons, Bangladesh 1.86 million tons, Pakistan 1.83 million tons, and The Netherlands 1.77 million tons.