Home / News / India /  Why onions have become a source of friction between India and Bangladesh

India’s ban on export of onions due soaring domestic price of the essential kitchen ingredient has become an irritant in bilateral trade relationship with its eastern neighbor Bangladesh.

Speaking at the India-Bangladesh Business Forum on Friday, Bangladesh PM Sheikh Hasina said: Pyaaz leke thoda sa dikkat ho gaya hamare liye. Mujhe maloom nahin hain, aapne kyun pyaaz band kardiya. Thoda notice dene se achcha hota hum dusre desh se la sakte the. Achanak band kardiya aur ye hamare liye mushqil ban gaya. (We are facing some discomfort because of the ban on onion exports from India. I don’t know why you banned export of onions. It would have been better if you had alerted us in advance so that we could have sourced onions from other countries. You banned it suddenly and it became a problem for us.)

In jest, Hasina said after the export ban on onions, she asked her cook not to use onions in the kitchen.

India’s trade minister Piyush Goyal was in the dais when Hasina was delivering her speech at the even organized by Indian industry chambers CII, FICCI and Assocham.

Indian government on Sunday banned exports of onions and imposed countrywide stock limits on the vegetable with immediate effect to bring down its prices following retail onion prices touching 80 in parts of the country due to supply disruptions after floods in some states. The government had initially imposed a minimum export price of $850 per tonne on onions on 13 September, but consumer affairs secretary A.K. Srivastava complained to the commerce ministry that export are continuing unabated following which the DGFT banned exports.

“The reported export below minimum export price to Bangladesh and Sri Lanka will be immediately stopped and strict action will be initiated against those who are found to be violating this decision of the government," a government official said on Sunday on condition of anonymity.

India’s onion exports fell 10.7% to $154.5 million in April-July from a year ago. Malaysia, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and the United Arab Emirates were the top importers of onion from India during this period.

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