Bangladesh will look for alternative markets to source garlic, ginger and other spices in case the coronavirus outbreak is prolonged, said Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi yesterday. “We will not face any difficulties if onion imports from China are stopped. However, we are observing the supply situation of garlic and ginger. We will consider alternative markets if the coronavirus crisis continues for a long time,” he told reporters at his office after a meeting with David Marit, the visiting Agriculture Minister of Canada’s Saskatchewan province.
However, he added that currently, there are no major supply deficits of garlic, ginger or other spices. Munshi’s comments come at a time when the prices for various spices, including imported garlic mainly imported from China, soared in recent weeks.
The price of imported garlic shot up 38 per cent to Tk 180- 220 per kilogram in Dhaka whereas just a month ago, prices stood at Tk 140-150 per kilogram.
The price for imported onions, dry chilly and cloves also rose, according to data from the Trading Corporation of Bangladesh.
According to thedailystar.net, Bangladesh requires 300,000 tonnes of ginger annually. With a domestic production value of 77,000 tonnes, the supply of locally grown ginger falls short every year. The country produces about 450,000 tonnes of garlic each year against a 600,000 tonne demand. The remainder is imported mostly from China, according to government data.
However, Munshi said that China accounts for only 10 per cent of total imports and so, the country would not face a shortage in supply if the imports are stopped.
[ Tk100 = €1.10 ]