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India again bans onion exports to Bangladesh

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The last group of trucks loaded with onions remains parked in the land port of Hili before the Indian government decides to stop the export of all kinds of onions to Bangladesh on Monday, September 14, 2020
Dhaka Tribune

The ban comes close to a year after India announced its move not to export onions in 2019

The Indian government on Monday banned exports of all types of onions to Bangladesh, citing a shortage of supply in India itself due to heavy rainfall and flooding.

The ban comes close to a year after India announced its move not to export onions in 2019.

India halted onion exports on September 29 last year, a move that led to a drop in the prices of the main cooking ingredient to a historic high of as much as Tk250 per kilogram in Bangladesh.

Shankar Das, a cleaning and tracking agent (C&F) in Chile (India), said onion production had been halted due to recent rains and floods in various parts of India, as a result of which lamp prices were grown in Indian market.

In light of the situation, the Indian government yesterday at noon instructed the Hili Customs office in India to stop exporting onions to Bangladesh, he added.

According to him, the customs authorities informed all C&F agents there that no kind of onion export would continue until further orders.

At the same time, the onions would not be exported despite the letters of credit (LC) being opened for the import of onions, as well as for those whose tender processes had been completed, he added.

Saiful Islam and Harun-ur-Rashid, onion importers at the land port of Hili in Dinajpur, said: “Indian exporters and C&F agents told us that India would not export any onions, not even to those to whom LC or tender processes. “

However, they also doubted a strategy to increase the export price of the essential cooking ingredient.

“Many of our importers have QM open to import large quantities of onions. We are in trouble now. Our trucks are loaded with ready-made onions. “They also remain stuck, endangering our business,” they said.

Meanwhile, no trucks carrying onions have entered Bangladesh via Benapole in Jessore and Bhomra port in Satkhira since yesterday morning.

According to a source in the Indian port of Petrapole, the Indian onion exporters association stopped exporting onions through all the ports of the country immediately after 50 tonnes of onions entered through the port of Benapole in the morning.

Kartik Chandra Ghosh, general secretary of Petrapole C&F Welfare Staff in India, said the onion exporters association had decided not to export onions under $ 750 per tonne to Bangladesh.

That is why more than a hundred vehicles loaded with onions remained stranded in the port of Petrapole, he added.

Benapole Customs House Commissioner Azizur Rahman confirmed to the Dhaka Tribune that India had banned the export of onions to Bangladesh without any prior notice.

There is no alternative to compromise in mutual trade. They could have given time to onion importers without stopping item exports. “It was not fair to go for such an unexpected decision,” he remarked.



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