• Tuesday, Oct 15, 2019
  • Last Update : 02:45 pm

Govt to import onion from Turkey, Myanmar, China

  • Published at 03:52 pm September 17th, 2019
A vendor selling onion in Dhaka on Tuesday, September 17, 2109 Mehedi Hasan/Dhaka Tribune

Commerce Secretary Mohammed Zafaruddin made the announcement after a meeting with stakeholders at his office on Tuesday.

The government has decided to import onion from Turkey, Myanmar and China to improve supply and bring down prices of the essential cooking ingredient at kitchen markets.

The move came after the Indian government recently fixed minimum export price of onion to rein in soaring prices in their domestic market.

On September 13, India fixed maximum export prices (MEP) at $850 per ton, which pushed prices up in kitchen markets in Bangladesh. 

Local onion sold at Tk70 per kg, while imported one sold at Tk55-Tk60 in the city’s kitchen markets yesterday. 

Commerce Secretary Md Jafar Uddin made the announcement after a meeting with stakeholders to discuss the present supply of onions and ways to increase supply in the market at his office at the Ministry of Commerce. 

He said to reduce dependency on Indian market for imports, they were thinking about alternative destinations such as Myanmar, Turkey and China for importing onion.

“The current one and a half months is considered a lean period for onion due to shortage in supply. It is not a crisis, it is a normal phenomenon,” Jafar Uddin claimed. 

There would no crisis as the Trading Corporation of Bangladesh (TCB)  started open market sale at reasonable prices, while the supply would be normal as there was more imports in pipeline, he assured. 

As part of government efforts to increase supply, the commerce ministry wrote letter to Bangladesh Bank to reduce credit margins and asked the land port authorities to release onion-laden trucks quickly, said the commerce secretary.

He also urged consumers not to panic as the government talked to importers and assured them of providing all-out supports in making the imports smother.

Replying to a question on price manipulation, Jafar said the authorities concerned already strengthened monitoring as there was gap between the retail and wholesale prices.

Meanwhile, Bangladesh Tariff Commission member Shah Md Abu Raihan Alberuni claimed that the prices of onion would come down within 24 hours as there were enough stocks of onion.

Currently, there are 100 onion-laden trucks waiting at Bhomra Land Port — 25 trucks at Sonamasjid Land Port, 15 at Hili Land Port and two trucks at Benapole Land Port, carrying a total of 2,840 tons of onion.   

According to Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE) data, in the last fiscal year Bangladesh yielded 2.3 million tons of onions against the demands of 2.6 million. 

On the other hand, Bangladesh imported one million tons of onions.

Raihan also said that the prices of onion would come down by November, as the harvesting of onion would begin by the second week of November in India and in December in Bangladesh.