After a gap of almost six months, Bangladesh started importing onions from India through the country’s two land ports on Sunday.
Seventeen trucks carrying about 374 metric tons of onion entered Bangladesh through Hili Land Port in Dinajpur in the afternoon, said port sources.
Onion traders Selim Uddin and Mobarak Uddin said altogether 24 trucks were slated to enter Bangladesh on Sunday through Hili, carrying a total of 528 MT of Indian onions.
Meanwhile, another 91 MT onions were imported through Benapole Land Port in Jashore in the afternoon, said port official Hemanta Kumar.
The Indian government lifted its ban on onion export on March 15.
“Paving the way for economic empowerment of farmers, Government will allow export of onions from March 15,” Indian Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal announced.
Onion prices jumped by over 500 percent in Bangladesh at one stage, shortly after India banned export of the bulb on September 29, with a view to maintaining domestic stocks after the monsoon played havoc with supplies. Each kg of onions cost about Tk 30 in Bangladesh before the ban.
According to the Commerce Ministry, the annual demand for onions in Bangladesh ranges between 2.2 and 2.5 million tonnes. Although the country’s own annual production has risen, so has the amount imported over the last decade.
Commerce Ministry figures show the amount imported was hardly 0.4 million tonnes in FY09, but had touched upto 1.1 million tonnes in recent years.