A consignment of 12,000 tonnes of onion from Egypt will reach the country by this week, said Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi.
The onions will be imported by freighter ships through the Chattogram port, the minister on Saturday told journalists during a press briefing at a city hotel.
"This is part of the total onions to be imported from Egypt," Tipu said, adding that onion prices will be stable once the locally-grown ones come to markets by next 10 days.
"To deal with the ongoing crisis, we are importing onions from Egypt at over Tk200 per kg. But we are selling the same item for Tk45 per kg only at local markets," Tipu also said.
Even though onion prices at local markets have decreased, media reports are not highlighting it properly, the minister claimed.
"We are trying our best to cut onion prices. Even, we are importing the commodity by air cargos. We are selling onions imported from Egypt and China for Tk120 per kg and locally-produced ones for Tk140 to Tk160 per kg," he said.
Of the total domestic demand for onions, 25 percent are met from import, and 90 percent of the total import is made from India, Tipu elaborated.
"We were heavily dependent on India for onion import, but the country's sudden ban on the export of the commodity from September 29 hit Bangladesh hard. So, we decided to import onions from alternative markets such as Egypt, Turkey and Myanmar," he explained.
"Earlier, we had to import one lakh tonnes per month. But in September, we got only 25,000 tonnes. We experienced a similar shortage in onion import in October too," he added.
City Group begins onion import
Meanwhile, the City Group, one of the leading conglomerates in Bangladesh, has begun importing onions through air and sea routes to contribute to easing the unstable onion market.
It will primarily import 2,520 tonnes of onion, of which the first shipment came to the country through a Turkish Airlines flight on November 22, read a press release.
The business group has already handed over the consignment to the Trading Corporation of Bangladesh for an open market sale.
The second batch of imported onions will reach the country through airways on November 25, while the third consisting of 2,500 tonnes has already begun its voyage towards the country via Singapore.