Imported onions are making their way into Bangladesh through the south-western borders a bit earlier this season, and the importers assured onion price hike owing to the supply crunch is less likely to reoccur this year.
A trainload of the cooking staple weiging around 1,600 tonnes reached Bangladesh via Darshana port on Monday. The importer of the consignment claimed the imported red bulbs like local onions in size and test will help keep the supply stable.
Onion prices skyrocketed in September last year and continued for five months followed by India's export ban on the cooking ingredient. Onion imports from China, Turkey, Myanmar and Egypt apparently failed to calm down the market.
Traders said local produce cannot meet the total demand as imports from India usually fill up the gap.
Importers in Jashore who gained the experience last year have begun bringing in onions in advance this year. The first trainload of the cooking staple entered Bangladesh on May 13 via Darshana as the coronavirus pandemic impeded operations at Benapole land port.
Jashore importers said they usually bring onion from Nashik – the Indian terrioty in Maharashtra famous for onion production. The consignment arrived Bangladesh Monday also came from Nashik.
The importer Ejaj Uddin Tipu said the consignment loaded in 41 railway wagons reached Gede in West Bengal Sunday. A rail engine carried it to Darshana from there Monday.
Imported onions are usually big sized and cheaper than the local produce. Resturants mainly use those while households prefer small size local onions with rich flavour.
Currently, the onion market in Bangladesh looks stable. Jashore onion trader Swapan Saha said local onions were seling at Tk40-45 per kilogram while Indian ones were at Tk22-30.
Tipu said the prices would drop further once his import hits the market. "This will relieve the low-income people while dishes cooked with Indian onions will also not differ," he added.
In the meantime, clearing and forwarding agent of the consignment Jamuna Trading said the unloading will end Tuesday and then wholesalers will be able to collect the onions from Darshana warehouse.