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Govt move to raise onion import from Myanmar

Date: 19/08/2013
Source: Financial Express
Govt move to raise onion import from Myanmar

The government has initiated a process for raising import of onion from Myanmar to ease its high price in the domestic market because of inadequate supply of the item from India.

Indian traders have started taking back their export consignments of onion from the border area following its price spiral in their market, local traders said at an inter-ministerial meeting at the commerce ministry's conference room Sunday.

"Now we have decided to import onion through Trading Corporation of Bangladesh (TCB) from Myanmar to help reduce its price in the local market," commerce secretary Mahbub Ahmed told newsmen after the meeting.

He, however, said the government will assist private sector also to import onion from Myanmar.

Mr Ahmed said that an additional secretary of the MoC will go to Chittagong and Cox's Bazar soon to help them import onion from Myanmar.

He, however, said the onion price will come down soon and there is no reason to be worried.

Traders at the meeting said the Indian businessmen had raised export price of onion to US $650 from $350 per tonne and thus hampered import and prompted price hike in Bangladesh.

They said that incoming import consignments of onion were taken back from the border by Indian traders for selling those at higher rates in their own market. They said that onion was sold at Indian rupee 80 per kg on Sunday.

The local variety of onion is being sold at Tk 65 to Tk 70 per kg while the prices of imported variety ranged between Tk 65 and Tk 75 Saturday compared to Tk 48-52 and Tk 44-45 per kg respectively just before the Eid-ul-Fitr.

"We hope the price of onion will come down shortly and there is no reason to be worried," Mr Mahbub said. He also warned that stern action will be taken against hoarders.

Bangladesh produces about 1.4 million tonnes of onion annually against the demand for 2.0 million tonnes. The country imports 20 per cent of its demand for onion from India annually.

India produced nearly 14 million tonnes of onion and exported 2.0 million tonnes during the fiscal year (FY) 2012-13, sources said.

The sudden increase in the demand for onion in some of its states has forced the Indian government to raise the price in order to discourage export.

Importers have expressed the hope that the price of onion will come down at a tolerable level soon if there is no delay in opening letters of credit (LCs) that will help quick arrival of new consignments of onion in the country.

The market monitoring teams of the MoC and Directorate of National Consumers' Rights Protection (DNCRP) will strengthen the ongoing market monitoring to know the demand, supply and price situation of onion in the local markets.

Topic: Business
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