Onion import through the Hili Land Port in Dinajpur and other ports of the country are set to resume on Sunday, more than five months after India suspended exports of the kitchen staple due to soaring prices in domestic markets.
The prices of the essential cooking ingredient rose sharply in India following a shortage in supply, prompting the neighbouring nation to halt exports to meet domestic demand. The cascade effect left consumers in Bangladesh hard pressed to afford the product.
Now, thedailystar.net reports, India finally lifted the restriction on onion exports on February 26, said numerous Hili Land Port traders. Many traders then sent applications to the Plant Quarantine Centre in the Hakimpur region of Dinajpur, seeking permission to import 25,000 tonnes of onion, according to officials of the Department of Agriculture extension. However, the Plant Quarantine Centre has allowed the import of only 8,000 tonnes of onion.
Government agencies discouraging imports to protect farmers
However, the same periodical writes how two government agencies want to discourage these imports, aiming to protect local growers from price slumps amidst ongoing harvests.
The agriculture ministry recently requested the commerce ministry to discourage the import of the popular item, consumed as a spice and vegetable. Meanwhile, the Bangladesh Trade and Tariff Commission (BTTC) suggested imposing regulatory duty of up to 35 per cent to make imports costly, according to a recent report obtained from the commerce ministry.