Bangladesh leads in onion import

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Bangladesh stands out not only as a significant onion market but also as the world’s leading onion importer in terms of quantity. This distinction is based on a comparison of country-wise onion import data.

According to the National Board of Revenue (NBR), Bangladesh imported a staggering 727,000 tonnes of onions in 2022, surpassing all other nations in onion imports for that year.

According to the United Nations Commodity Trade Statistics Database (UN Comtrade), the United States follows Bangladesh as the second-largest importer with 660,000 tonnes, and Malaysia is the third largest importer of the kitchen item with an import of 525,000 tonnes that year.

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Despite being among the top 10 onion-producing countries globally, as reported by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Bangladesh is grappling with an inadequate domestic supply to meet the demand.

Consequently, the country's reliance on onion imports, an essential ingredient in cooking, has surged, propelling Bangladesh to the pinnacle of the global list in terms of onion imports.

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Speaking to Prothom Alo about the demand of onion, Khondaker Golam Moazzem, research director at Centre for Policy Dialogue  (CPD) said the consumption of onions soars when people’s income grows.

He pointed out that the use of onions has grown due to increasing demand for processed food nowadays. Only local production cannot meet this demand. That’s why the onion is being imported.

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It is unlikely that Bangladesh will be toppled from the list of top onion importers in 2023. According to NBR, the country has imported a humongous 864,000 tonnes of onion in the first 11 months of this year.