Onion prices in Dhaka's kitchen markets have gone up by Tk10-15 in the last three days. The prices of the commodity were somewhat lower in the past week.
Following a visit to the Karwan Bazar kitchen market on Monday, The Business Standard found that the locally grown onions were being sold at Tk100 a kg, Indian onions at Tk90 a kg and onions imported from Myanmar at Tk80 a kg.
Bulbul Ahmed, a middle-aged man employed in a private firm, who came to the kitchen market to buy daily commodities, said, "Since the beginning of the month, we have had to buy onions at abnormal prices.
"As it is an essential cooking ingredient,we cannot just stop using onions even though the price shoots up to Tk100," he said.
The price went down last week, but it has been increasing again over the last three days, he said.
"The government should understand that we, the general people, are suffering due to this price hike," he added.
On September 30, for the first time this year, onion prices shot up to Tk100 when India imposed a ban on export of onions to Bangladesh.
After a week-long price hike, onion prices slightly dropped in the kitchen markets. Now the prices are increasing again.
When prices of the essential commodity started to increase, Commerce Secretary Dr Md Jafar Uddin then urged people not to panic as the government had, in his words, enough of the item in stock.
Onion traders have, however, noted that onions cannot be stored for too long.
"As the country is running short of onions, the price is shooting up again. If a sufficient quantity of onions is not imported from abroad soon, I see no change in sight," said Md Kalam Sheikh, an onion wholesaler at Karwan Bazar.
He said, "For the last three days, onion prices have been going up again. The price has soared by Tk3-5 per kg a day, increasing to around Tk15 per kg altogether."
On Monday, the wholesale price of locally grown onions was Tk93 per kg, Indian imported onions Tk80 and Myanmar imported onionsTk75, said the wholesaler.
Meanwhile, in Shyambazar market, Dhaka's main wholesale hub for onions, locally grown onions were being sold at Tk85 per kg, Indian onions at Tk80 per kg and onions imported from Myanmar at Tk75 a kg.
The onions imported from India are very limited in quantity while those from Myanmar are rotten in quality, contributing to the shortage that leads to the price hike in the market, said wholesaler Shahidul Islam.
However, a consignment of onions from Turkey, which has arrived, might help reduce the shortage of onions, he said.
Once the onions imported from Egypt reach the country, prices will go down, he added.
Meanwhile, in Cox's Bazar, onions are being sold at Tk80-90 per kg on an average, reports our correspondent.
Cox's Bazar Deputy Commissioner Kamal Hossain said the authorities have been working relentlessly so that no one creates any artificial crisis in the market.
However, customers have alleged that the traders have already given rise to an artificial shortage of onions to justify the price hike.
According to customs officials at the Teknaf land port, on Sunday, 760.58 tonnes of onions entered Bangladesh from Myanmar.
In total, 7,483 tonnes of onions were imported through this land port in the last 13 days, said the officials.
Onions price high at super shops too
Visits to outlets of Agora, Meena Bazar, Shwapno super shops revealed that they were selling onions at higher prices compared to the prices at the Karwan Bazar kitchen market.
At Swapno, locally grown onions were selling at Tk120 per kg and Indian onions at Tk110 per kg.
Agora was selling locally grown onions at Tk117 per kg and Indian onions at Tk108 per kg.
Meena Bazar set the price for locally grown onions at Tk114 per kg and for Indian onions at Tk102 per kg.
Chaldal, an online delivery based platform, is selling local onions at Tk103 per kg and Indian onions at Tk100 per kg.
Trading Corporation of Bangladesh continues selling onions at Tk45
The Trading Corporation of Bangladesh (TCB) has been selling locally grown onions at Tk45 per kg under the Open Market Sales programme through 35 trucks since the first day of the current month.
The trucks cover 35 areas, including the Press Club, Secretariat, Farmgate, Mohammadpur, Mirpur-14, Kachukhet, Jatrabari, Sayedabad, Motijheel and adjacent areas.
"We increased the number of spots to provide our services after onion prices shot up to Tk100. Earlier, we sold onions at 10 points, which has now increased to 35," said Humayun Kabir, spokesperson of the Trading Corporation of Bangladesh.
"Last month, each truck contained only 400-500 kilograms of onions, but now each truck contains 1,000 kilograms of onions. We are trying our very best to provide onions to city dwellers at a cheaper price," he said.
Under the state-owned trading agency, these markets remain open from 10am to 4pm, with onions being sold on a first-come first-serve basis.
The trucks are emptied by 1am as the demand for onions at cheaper prices keeps rising due to the soaring prices in the market, said people involved in selling the daily commodity.
If people come after 1pm, they have to go back home empty-handed, without onions, they said.