The wholesale price of onion has come down up to Tk10 per kg in the last two days in Khatunganj – the country's largest wholesale market for consumer goods – after the announcement of opening up onion imports from India.
On 29 April, the government stopped importing onions from India to encourage farmers to cultivate onions.
In Khatunganj, onions sold for Tk45-48 per kg on Thursday, down from Tk53-55 two days before that.
In the last month, large quantities of Myanmar onions entered the country after the import of Indian onions was stopped.
Till last Tuesday, Myanmar onions sold for Tk48-50 per kg in Khatunganj, which has gone down by by about Tk10 to Tk40-Tk42 in the last two days.
Mubarak Hossain, an onion importer at Hili Land Port, said he had applied for importing 2,000 tons of onions. Many other importers at this port also applied for permission to import several thousand tons of onions.
He added that importers have made all kinds of preparations, and onion imports will start from next week. So onion prices in the country are likely to come down.
Regarding the fall in onion prices, Shawkat Ali, proprietor of SA Trading in Khatunganj, said, "Indian onion imports have almost doubled in the last one month due to the earlier stop to imports of Indian onions. However, prices have started falling sharply since last Wednesday with news of the ban being lifted on importing onions from India."
Mohammad Idris Mia, general secretary of the Hamidullah Market Traders Association, a market for onions, garlic and ginger in Khatunganj, said the government has again allowed the import of onions to regulate the domestic onion market.
Nasir Uddin, deputy director, Plant Quarantine Station, Chittagong Sea Port, said no onions were imported through Chittagong Seaport for the last three months due to the onset of the domestic onion season. However, some onions that came earlier have been auctioned.
According to the Bangladesh Department of Agriculture and the Trading Corporation of Bangladesh, the annual demand for onions in the country is about 22-23 lakh tons. In 2019-20, about 19 lakh tons of onions were produced in the country, and 17.38 lakh tons in 2018-19.
However, there is a 25% post-harvest wastage and 2% is kept as seeds for the next year. In the case of imported onions, 5% is wasted on supply and marketing. As such, 9-10 lakh tons of onions have to be imported every year.
In the past, most of these onions used to be imported from India. However, importers have started importing onions from other countries as well for the last two years.