Bangladesh will stop importing onions from India from now on, Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi has said. "Last year's export ban without any notice was a lesson for us, which prompted the government to boost local production by providing incentives to farmers," he said on Saturday, speaking to the media at his Rangpur residence.
The Rangpur MP assured there would be no crisis of soybean oil and sugar in Ramadan, adding: “We have initiated measures to triple imports of soybean oil.” According to him, locally produced sugar is enough to meet demand in Ramadan.
The price of onions skyrocketed in Bangladesh when India banned its export of onions in September last year, with immediate effect. India exported 2.2 million tons of fresh onions in fiscal year 2018-19 up until Mar 30, according to a Reuters report.
During that time, Bangladesh imported 578,111 tons of the kitchen staple from India, according to data compiled by India’s Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority. Bangladesh's dependency on India for imported onions created the onion crisis last year.
In a bid to tackle the crisis, the government started open market sales across the country and imported onions from Turkey, Egypt, Pakistan, and Myanmar. Bangladesh consumes more onions than the country produces annually.
Dhakatribune.com reported that, according to the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics, the country's onion production in 2016-17 fiscal was 1.86 million tons against a demand for 2.4 million tons. In August last year, the commerce ministry said the country had 1.6 million tons of onions in stock and that the quantity was good enough to meet local demand.