Imports of more than 1.53 lakh tonnes of the cooking essential by sea got approval in September alone
Importers released three consignments of onions weighing 228 tonnes from Chattogram port in the last three days as India banned the export of the key cooking staple in mid-September.
Assistant Revenue Officer (Import) of Chattogram Customs House Mithun Kundu said they completed taxation of 228 tonnes of imported onions under three bills of entry until Wednesday.
On Wednesday, 58 tonnes of Pakistani onions was released from the port. Chattogram-based importer Seajob Enterprise brought in the consignment.
On Monday, another port city-based importer Kayel Store released two containers with 54 tonnes of Pakistani onions that arrived at the port. On Tuesday, Green Trade obtained the release documents for 116 tonnes of Pakistani onions.
In September, the Plant Quarantine Centre of Chattogram port approved 339 import permissions to bring in more than 1.53 lakh tonnes of the cooking essential by sea.
Deputy Director of the centre Dr Mohammad Asaduzzaman Bulbul told The Business Standard that they approved 2,690 tonnes of onion imports alone on Wednesday – the last day of September.
Besides, import of 1.53 lakh tonnes of the cooking ingredient by sea got approval from September 3 to September 30. Under the approvals, importers will bring in onions from China, Myanmar, Pakistan, Egypt, Turkey, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Malaysia, India, Ukraine, South Africa and the United Arab Emirates.
On September 14, neighbouring India slapped an onion export ban to curb the rising price of the cooking ingredient in its market.
Onion prices in Bangladesh had been rising for more than two weeks prior to the ban, and India's export restriction further fueled the spiralling prices.
Prices of the cooking staple shot up to Tk120 per kg following India's export ban. Subsequently, the government initiated numerous measures to cap the soaring prices including 5% import duty waiver and allowing onion imports on credit for 90 days.
In the meantime, importers also started exploring alternatives to India. Around a week ago, news broke out that nearly 6 lakh tonnes of onion will arrive in the country by sea in the next two months from at least seven countries.