Local sellers have raised the price of onions as soon as India announced its export ban even after there were many onions in stock in the local markets of Hili, Dinajpur Dhaka Tribune
India on Monday banned the export of all varieties of onions except in cut, sliced or powdered form
Onion importers, who use the port of Hili to import from India, said onion imports remained banned on Thursday while Delhi maintained the onion export ban in Bangladesh.
Although there was assurance of receiving old onion shipments stranded outside the Hili land port prior to the ban, local onion importers did not obtain the necessary approval for procurement.
About 250-300 trucks loaded with onions were stranded in India waiting to enter Bangladesh, said Haroon Ur Rashid, president of the Hili Land Port Import-Export Group. Onions will rot if vehicles remain stuck, he said.
In addition, importers have opened letters of credit (LC) for the procurement of about 10,000 tonnes of onions from India, which is now unsafe, Rashid said.
As a result, the price of onion has risen by Tk10-15 per kg and the bulb is sold at Tk65-70 per kg in the port market as soon as the news of India’s export ban spreads.
India on Monday banned the export of all varieties of onions except in cut, sliced or powdered form.
Shankar Das, C&F agent for the Indian part of the port, said the Government of India’s Foreign Trade Department issued a notice announcing the ban Monday evening. Onion exports to Bangladesh will be suspended until further notice.
He said the destruction of onions in recent floods in India and the supply crisis have pushed up prices. “The government measure is aimed at controlling prices in the local market,” he said.
Anil Thakur, an Indian exporter, said the Indian government decided to stop the export of onions to keep normal onion prices in India. Thus, customs immediately stopped any import of onions, including trucks that were already loaded with onions to go to Bangladesh.
Last year, India banned the export of onions without prior notice, raising lamp prices in Bangladesh to record heights.
Onion markets are heating up across the country
The ban on onion exports hit by India has caused prices to rise in Chittagong, Hili and Chapainawabganj as well.
In Chittagong, according to Khatunganj market wholesalers, Indian onions traded at Tk38-40 per kg on Monday but reached Tk55-Tk70 per kg on Tuesday.
Speaking to the Dhaka Tribune, General Secretary of the Khatunganj Market Traders Welfare Association Hamid Ullah Mohammad Idris said the price will move around the existing limits for the next week or two.
“No onions were imported from Burma through the Teknaf border due to the ongoing Covid-19 situation. “Prices will drop further with imports from Burma and other countries,” he said.
In June, July and August this year, 1,082 metric tons of onions imported from China and Burma entered through the seaport of Chittagong.
In Chapainawabganj, a similar situation was found after the trucks with onions did not enter the land port of Sonamasjid on Tuesday morning.
About 200 trucks carrying onions have been stranded in Mohaddipur, India. As a result, domestic importers may face losses.
Bablu Hasanat Durul, an onion importer from the area, said: “With the opportunity to import onions from other countries and the stock of domestic onions, India’s decision should not increase the price of onions in the domestic market like last time.”
Mesbahul Haque Mesba, former secretary general of the Sonamasjid Land C&F Port Agents Association, said that although 44 Indian onion carts entered the port on Monday, no onion trucks entered the port on Tuesday.
Onion traders are fined across the country
Local authorities have penalized onion traders across the country for selling onions at a higher price.
In Dinajpur, three onion traders were fined Tk2,000 by Nawabganj upazila Assistant Commissioner (Land) and Executive Magistrates Al Mamun.
He said: “Onion traders were selling onions at Tk100-120 per kg instead of Tk50. After learning about this, we made a move to the local market and fined three of them. “
In Benapole, three other onion traders were fined Tk30,000 by a moving court.
Sharsha upazila executive officer Pulok Kumar Mandal held the mobile court on Tuesday.
In Lakshmipur, a mobile court fined two wholesalers Tk 6,000 for selling onions at a higher price and failing to show invoices.
The mobile trial was held by the Abu Wadud Extra District Magistrate on Tuesday.
In Brahmanbaria, a mobile court fined two traders for selling onions at a higher price.
The mobile court conducted by Assistant Commissioner Kasba upazila (Land) and Executive Magistrate Hasiba Khanom, fined a majority of Tk5,000 and another Tk3,000 in this regard.
On Monday, the Indian government again banned the export of all onion varieties. The General Directorate of Foreign Trade, under the Ministry of Commerce of India, issued a notice on Monday for this purpose.
On September 29, last year, India imposed a similar ban on onion exports to Bangladesh due to an increase in the price of the item in its domestic market. The price of the kitchen item had reached Tk300 a kilogram in Bangladesh. India later lifted the ban on March 15 this year.
However, the market became volatile again in early September when the onion harvest season ended and supply faced shortages due to flooding.
Our correspondents Selim Reja, Benapole, Saiful Islam Swapan, Lakshmipur and Ujjal Chakraborty, Brahmanbaria, also contributed to this report.
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