Onion ban brings tears in Nepal, Sri Lanka

India’s ban on onion export is having a cascading effect in its neighbourhood -- from Kathmandu to Colombo. This is because onion prices have more than doubled in these countries in the last one month.

As is the case in India, in these countries onion is a staple ingredient in the food. So, impacted by the ban are the Pakistani chicken curry and the Bangladeshi biryani – all in equal measure – as much as the Indian sambar.

Since the ban, countries such as Bangladesh have turned to the likes of Myanmar, Egypt, Turkey and China to increase supplies in a bid bring prices down, government officials and traders said.

But the hefty volumes lost will be hard to replace, reports Reuters. India exported 2.2 million tonnes of fresh onions in the 2018/19 fiscal year ended March 31.

That's more than half of all imports by Asian countries, traders estimate. Onion prices in Sri Lanka have risen by 50% in a week, to 280-300 Sri Lankan rupees ($1.7) per kilogramme.