Dhaka, Bangladesh
Cease panic buying, enough in supply

Cease panic buying, enough in supply

Ministry assures amid onion price prance

News Report Commerce ministry urged people to cease panic buying of onion as it assured enough supply with domestic stock and imports in pipeline from alternative sources. An abrupt embargo pressed on the export of Indian onion even left stranded several hundred trucks of already-booked consignments of onions across the borders, reports said, while its prices went spiraling on the domestic market in Bangladesh. The government went on market intervention and drives against hoarding and emergency import from other countries like China, Egypt, Myanmar and Turkey to make up for the shortage. Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi Wednesday said there is nothing to panic about onion as the country has sufficient stock of this kitchen item for meeting the normal demand. “There is nothing to panic about onion. The government is taking up all sorts of strategies to keep the price of onion at logical level. The government is going to link e-commerce with TCB to bring the prices under control," he said, adding: "Imprisonment and fines have been increased for dishonest traders." The minister was speaking at a press conference on the stock, supply and price situation of essential commodities, including onion, at the Commerce Ministry conference room amid price rises. Tipu informed that the monthly demand for onion is around 2 lakh tonnes and the current stock of onion in the country is around 6 lakh tonnes. There is a deficit of four lakh tonnes compared to the demand up to January next and 12 to 13 hundred tons of onions have been loaded from Myanmar, which will come in a few days, he informed. “Arrangements are being made to allow onions truck at the border to enter within a day or two. The supply chain of onion will become normal within one month,” he said. He said just after India had declared a ban on onion export, preparations are being taken so that the domestic supply chain of onion does not face any crisis. The commerce ministry also made a move for waver of the 5.0 percent import duty on onion in view of the exigency. The Indian government on Monday banned exports of all types of onions, citing a shortage in supply in India itself due to heavy rainfall and floods. Dhaka requested New Delhi to revoke its ban on onion export as India earlier had made an “unofficial” pledge to Bangladesh of continuing supply of the essential. Consumers and analysts here lamented that the onion ban from the next-door neighbour the same time when Bangladesh lifted hilsha-export restrictions and the first consignment of the luscious fish entered India. "It came as a replication of last year's same occurrence with onion and hilsha," said former diplomat Shamsher Mobin Chowdhury, echoed by others in a flurry of talks on 'onion diplomacy'. “We are expecting a positive result soon in this regard,” said State Minister for Foreign Affairs M Shahriar Alam while talking to reporters at his office in Dhaka Tuesday. He said there is an “unwritten” understanding between Bangladesh and India that New Delhi would not impose ban on onion export, and if New Delhi takes such decision, they would inform Dhaka beforehand. Being informed about Indian government’s decision of imposing ban on onion export on Monday night, Alam said, Bangladesh High Commission in New Delhi raised the issue with the Indian Ministry of External Affairs immediately. The Directorate-General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) of India on Monday issued a notification imposing restrictions on onion export with immediate effect. India’s decision has cast a negative impact on onion markets in Bangladesh. Meanwhile, veteran Indian politician and President of the Nationalist Congress Party Sharad Pawar also requested the Indian government to lift the ban on onion export, saying: “This decision has led to strong reactions from the onion- growing belt in Maharashtra”. The ban jeopardises India’s export share in the onion markets of Gulf countries, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, he tweeted. With agency inputs, media reports

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