Bangladesh to Import Almost 12,000 Tonnes of Onions from Pakistan

The government of Bangladesh has approved the import of onions from nine countries, including Pakistan.

According to a press release issued by the country’s Ministry of Agriculture on Thursday, this decision aims to address the rising onion prices in the domestic market. The ministry’s statement revealed that a total of 11,820 tonnes of onions will be sourced from Pakistan.

Bangladesh will also be importing 2,400 tonnes from China, 3,910 tonnes from Egypt, 1,100 tonnes from Qatar, 2,110 tonnes from Turkey, 200 tonnes from Myanmar, 33 tonnes from Thailand, four tonnes from the Netherlands, and three tonnes from the United Arab Emirates.

So far, Bangladesh has imported 379,000 tons of onions against the sanctioned import capacity of 1.3 million tonnes. This expansion in onion sourcing comes in the wake of India’s imposition of a 40 percent export duty on onions, leading to price hikes in both retail and wholesale markets within Bangladesh.

The export duty, effective from August 19 and set to continue until December 31, was enacted by the Indian government as a measure to stabilize local onion prices.

Pakistan’s onion production increased by nearly 37 percent between 2014 and 2021 from 1.6 million tonnes to 2.3 million tonnes before reporting a 10 percent decline during 2021-22. The cultivated area also rose by nearly 17 percent from 0.32 million acres to 0.38 million acres in a similar time before falling back to 0.34 million acres.

Sindh and Balochistan account for 39 percent(0.82 million tonnes) and 33 percent (0.69 million tonnes) of the total onion production of Pakistan while Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa account for 16 percent and 10.5 percent respectively.

The decrease in area and production is mostly attributed to reduced exports during recent times and last year’s floods that destroyed the crops in many parts of Balochistan and interior Sindh with media reports claiming nearly Rs. 10 billion worth of losses.

“Pakistan is an active exporter of onions to the Middle East, Singapore, and Malaysia but our onions struggle in quality and taste against that of India”, said Saher Naviwala, Senior Commodity Trader at SMI International while talking to ProPakistani.

Naviwala said that India not only offers a large crop stretched over longer seasons compared to Pakistan but also better quality in terms of color and taste and stable prices. On the other hand, in Pakistan, the market has become too volatile as a result of the announcement of Indian curbs on exports.

So in addition to the modern farming practices, Pakistan also lacks the export competitive varieties of onions while in the case of potatoes, we have a nearly full year crop season and experience very high demand globally.  There is also limited cold storage infrastructure available, and it’s mostly utilized by potato exports. There is a lot that needs to be done in order to properly capitalize on the opportunities stemming from market changes.

  • Please, please, please stop joking.
    Pakistan exporting onions to Bangladesh? Do we have enough stock? Do we want to create a local shortage so that people cannot afford to buy onions?
    Through this forum I wish to through an open challenge. Please produce a single piece of local onion which is not rotten from inside.

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