Onion prices double following India’s export ban

The price of onions in the country has more than doubled. A kilogram of onion costs as high as Nu 150. The price hike is attributed to India’s ban on the export of bulb onions since Friday. In a notification, the Indian government said the ban will remain in place until the end of March next year to curb surging prices in its domestic market.

Starting yesterday, people in Thimphu have witnessed a sudden increase in the prices of onions.

The price increased by almost double. According to vegetable vendors in Thimphu, until now they used to sell it at Nu 50 to 70 per kilogramme.

“Since onion is used in every dish, the increase in the price is concerning. We have to buy at least one kilogram of onion every week,” said Sangay, a resident.

Similarly, the surge in the prices of onion is felt in other parts of the country too.

“The price for the onion has increased indeed. In the past, it was only Nu 70 to 80 per kilogram however, the price has now increased to Nu 100,” said Tashi Wangmo, a resident of Trashi Yangtse.

The vegetable vendors attribute this surge to a very limited or no supply of onions in the market.

Some vegetable vendors said the Indian customs officials at the border in Phuentshogling didn’t allow them to bring in the onions for which they already made payment unaware of the notice on the ban.

“We did not know anything about the notice on ban of export when we loaded the onions. We only knew about it when we reached Phuentsholing from Falakata and were stopped by the custom office. We were refused when we requested them to allow us to take the already loaded onions for which we already paid. We wouldn’t have paid for or bought the onions had we known about the notice. The Indian officials refused even when our customs official tried to request,” said Tshomo, a vegetable vendor.

“When we loaded the onions from India the day before yesterday, there was no notice on the ban. So when we reached the Indian customs office, we were stopped since the notice of the ban had been issued. We had to take out the onions and bear the loss. We would be grateful if our government do something regarding the issue since we do not know what to do,” said Phuntsho Wangdi, another vegetable vendor.

According to sources, Indian officials seized onions from eight trucks carrying the vegetable from India towards Bhutan on Friday.

Bhutan imports onions from Falakata in India.

Tashi Dekar

Edited by Phub Gyem

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