According to sources at the Hili land port, the import of onions resumed around 5:15pm Sunday after the new MEP took effect
The prices of onion have come down slightly after import resumed through Hili land port in Dinajpur after a brief halt.
On Sunday afternoon, traders started importing onions at the new minimum export price (MEP) set by the Indian government.
As the import volume rose comparatively, prices dropped by Tk5-7 per kilogram at the port area. Bangladeshi wholesale markets are yet to witness the effect.
The price of per kg onion stood at Tk45-47, compared to Tk52-55, the previous day. However, the price was Tk39-42 per kg before the export price hike.
According to sources at the Hili land port, the import of onions resumed around 5:15pm Sunday after the new MEP took effect. A total of 368 tons of onions, carried on 17 trucks, have been imported through the port on Sunday and the trade in continued since then.
Saiful Islam, an onion importer at the port, said: "Previously, the import cost of per ton onion was $250-300. In recent months, prices went up in the Indian market due to stock shortage caused by floods.
"Recently, the Indian government also hiked the export price to balance their market and discourage traders from exporting the vegetable to neighboring Bangladesh. On Friday, India fixed the export cost at $852," he said.
Moreover, the new MEP had negatively impacted traders, as they were now forced to open new letters of credit (LCs). These new LCs were forcing them to purchase Indian onions at no less than Tk72-73 per kilogram, he said.
"Those who had previously opened LCs at older and lower rates between $250-300 have to amend their LCs by adding the increased rate, leading many to abandon their onion imports," Saiful added.
He also said onion traders, such as himself, are facing a tough situation now as they are buying products from India at high price but not getting expected profit while selling it in Bangladeshi market.
Sohrab Hossain, public relations officer at Hili land port, said: "After the Eid, an average of 500-550 tons of onions were being imported through the port daily. However, export price hike caused a major decline of that volume."