First shipment of Indian onions to arrive by today, says state minister

Bangladesh was to import 50,000 tonnes of onions from India before Ramadan, but shipments were delayed

Published : 31 March 2024, 11:19 AM
Updated : 31 March 2024, 11:19 AM

The first shipment of onions imported by the government from India will arrive on Sunday, says State Minister for Commerce Ahasanul Islam Titu.

In addition to the ongoing sales to family cardholders, onions will also be sold from trucks owned by the Trading Corporation of Bangladesh in Dhaka and Chattogram according to the previous rules, he said.

The state minister made the statement after a meeting of a task force on commodity prices and the market situation on Sunday.

The government was supposed to import 50,000 tonnes of onions from India ahead of Ramadan, but the shipments were delayed due to various complications.

It was also supposed to purchase sugar but refrained after the market price began to decline.

“I know one question you are going to ask,” the state minister told the media after the meeting. “Let me answer before you ask the question. By the endless mercy of Allah, a train carrying onions from India will arrive by tonight.”

“We will start collecting money from dealers tomorrow. We will sell onions from trucks in Dhaka and Chattogram at Tk 40 per kg.”

The first train brought in 1,650 tonnes of onions and more will be sent according to Bangladesh’s demand, the state minister said.

“Sufficient sugar is available in the market at an acceptable price, that’s why producers don’t feel the need to import sugar. We are not trying to import more sugar right now.”

TCB Chairman Brig Gen Md Ariful Hasan said onions were brought in from India at a price of $400 per tonne.

“The market price in India is on the decline as well. That’s why we didn’t bring in all the onions at once. We can import 50,000 tonnes of onions in stages as needed. Initially, consumers will be able to buy a maximum of 2 kg of onions from TCB trucks.”

Explaining why these onion sales will only be available in Dhaka and Chattogram, he said, “These are urban areas. There is huge demand there. If the demand is met the shortage at the upazila level will ease as well and prices will come down.”