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Onion price hike in Bangladesh after India bans export

A day after the Indian government restricted the export of all varieties of onion, the prices of the popular kitchen item have almost doubled in Dhaka’s kitchen markets. 

“The export of all varieties of onion is prohibited with immediate effect,” according to a notification of the Indian Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) released on Monday. 

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Consumers alleged that unscrupulous businesses have increased the prices after the decision by India as it has been the main source of onion import for Bangladesh. 

Habibur Rahman, a resident of Bangshal in Old Dhaka, said he bought one kg imported onion at 80 taka on Tuesday which was 40 taka on Sunday. Local onions are selling at 100 taka per kg, he added. 

“When India made the announcement, unscrupulous traders here grabbed the chance to raise the prices to make a quick buck. Last year, the traders had also raised the prices irrationally. So, the public had to suffer as no action was taken against them,” he added. 

Abul Kalam Azad, a resident of Dhanmondi area, expressed anger saying, “India banned onion export just a few hours after hilsa shipment had reached there from Bangladesh on Tuesday.” 

The Bangladesh government decided to send 1,475 tonnes of hilsa to India as a goodwill gesture on the occasion of Durga Puja, an annual Hindu festival. 

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“The reason behind the export ban they’re showing is the shortage of onions in their domestic markets. We experienced the same situation last year when the prices of the cooking ingredient rose to more than 300 per kg here after India had stopped onion export. Yet, we survived, but our farmers had to face losses as it resumed exporting onions when our local onions started arriving in the market. So, it’s better for us to be self-sufficient!” Azad added. 

Anisur Rahman, a shopkeeper at Jatrabari, said they buy onions from the wholesale market. So, they’ve nothing to do. “The wholesalers, especially those in Khatunganj of Chattogram and Shymbazar of Dhaka, played a dirty role behind it. Today, I bought onions at a higher price compared to the previous days. So, we also sell at high prices,” he added. 

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