Onion prices in Bangladesh jumped by more than 50% on Tuesday, carrying out a ban on exports by greatest supplier India following its crop was damaged and harvesting delayed by excessive rain, industry officials told Reuters.
The surprise move, which took immediate influence on Monday, may help cut prices in India, but boost prices in Asian nations such as for example Malaysia, Nepal and Sri Lanka, apart from Bangladesh, since they count on Indian shipments.
"What will we consume now?" asked Dhaka garment worker Munna Khan, who was simply let go from his job in March after the coronavirus outbreak shuttered many businesses, hitting incomes for many, while driving up the costs of commodities.
"Prices of most items went up whenever we haven't any income."
Retail prices of the main vegetable, a staple of subcontinental cuisine, jumped in Dhaka to 90 taka to 100 taka ($1.06 to $1.18) per kg on Tuesday, from 60 taka on Monday and 30 taka at the start of the month.
"Many trucks are sitting on the Indian side with onions," said trader Saiful Islam. "Now we are wondering exactly what will eventually those supplies."
India may be the biggest supplier of onions to neighbouring Bangladesh, which buys a yearly average greater than 350,000 tonnes.
Onion prices in Bangladesh had jumped to an archive 250 taka in 2019 after an identical Indian ban forced the government to fly in onions.
Now, Bangladesh is turning to other countries for supplies, Commerce Secretary Mohammad Jafar Uddin said.
"Our target is to import onions in the shortest possible time," he added. "The federal government is importing 100,000 tonnes of onions from Turkey and other countries."
Dhaka sparked a rush by many poor persons this week, when it offered onions at a subsidised rate of 30 taka a kilo, even though some were left empty-handed on Tuesday, when supplies ran out.
In India, prices have tripled in a month to 30 rupees a kg as the summer-sown onion crop in the southern states of Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh was damaged by excessive rainfall, traders said.
India's key onion-producing states have obtained up to 41% more rainfall than normal because the monsoon season began on June 1.
"Supplies from the brand new crop have already been delayed by nearly per month," said Ajit Shah, president of the Mumbai-based Onion Exporters' Association.
"Prices could remain firm for a while."