India’s export ban will lead Bangladesh to raise onion production, Tofail hopes

  • Staff Correspondent, bdnews24.com
    Published: 2019-12-02 04:55:50 BdST

Bangladesh will tackle the onion crisis by boosting domestic production in the coming years like it did after cattle smuggling from India stopped, Tofail Ahmed believes.

The former commerce minister thinks people will now farm onion in empty places of their homes due to the high prices.

Smuggling of cattle from India almost stopped when the Hindu nationalist party, the Bharatiya Janata Party or BJP of Narendra Modi came to power in 2014 as it launched a campaign to save cow, considered sacred by the Hindus.

The government now claims Bangladesh is self-sufficient in beef as domestic farmers have boosted supplies.

Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi at a meeting on monitoring the kitchen markets during Ramadan at Dhaka North City Corporation office on Monday. Photo: Abdullah Al Momin

Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi at a meeting on monitoring the kitchen markets during Ramadan at Dhaka North City Corporation office on Monday. Photo: Abdullah Al Momin

After India stopped onion export around two months ago to control the domestic market, prices of the kitchen staple shot up in Bangladesh.

After a meeting of the parliamentary standing committee on the commerce ministry on Sunday, Tofail spoke to the media along with Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi as onion was still being sold at around Tk 240 a kg.

Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed speaks at a media call on Sunday over the month-long Dhaka International Trade Fair, which starts on Monday in capital's Sher-e-Bangla Nagar.

Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed speaks at a media call on Sunday over the month-long Dhaka International Trade Fair, which starts on Monday in capital's Sher-e-Bangla Nagar.

It was a mistake on the part of the government to depend only on import from India for onion, Munshi admitted.

Tofail, the chairman of the parliamentary committee, hoped that something good would come out of this mistake.

“The people of Bangladesh started raising cattle when India stopped (sending cow). Now we are self-sufficient,” he said.

“Now onion prices have increased. I think ordinary people will produce onion in empty places of their homes now. We will make Bangladesh an onion-exporting country within the next two years,” he added.

Tofail brushed aside allegations that the businesses manipulated the market to raise onion prices, saying there is no “market syndicate” as such.

“The businesses and the government are friends. The government wants to work with their help. The market cannot be controlled by force,” he remarked.