The kitchen markets in the city saw a sharp decline in sales on Friday, the second day of a ten-day general holiday the government announced as a preventive measure against the spread of coronavirus.
Although there are no restrictions on kitchen markets and groceries during the virtual lockdown, a few customers turned up to buy essential items, the supply of which remained as usual.
As a result, prices of some vegetables, onion, local garlic and potato witnessed a slight decline. The fall in demand has led to a drop in prices, traders said.
However, prices of most key essential items remained unchanged at their previous high level.
Md Nayeem, a grocer at Kaderabad Housing in Mohammadpur, told the FE that over 60 per cent of the city dwellers have gone to their home districts in the last one week following the announcement of the ten-day holiday.
And others who are staying in the city have already stocked up on food items fearing lockdown amid the COVID-19 pandemic, he added.
Customers who are coming out of their homes are mostly looking for vegetables, liquid milk and other perishable items, he said.
Also, many people went out on Friday to offer Juma prayers in the mosques.
Some vendors were seen selling vegetables near the mosques as in normal times.
While visiting the Rayer Bazar kitchen market in the city, the FE correspondent found that more than half of the vegetable, fish, meat and grocery outlets were open.
"With only a few customers around, we are biding our time today (Friday). The situation was the same yesterday (Thursday)," said Imran Shah, a grocer at Rayer Bazar.
Customers were staying indoors as they have already stockpiled grocery items such as rice, pulses, oil and flour much earlier, he added.
He also said transactions dropped drastically as sales slumped 80 per cent, compared to a normal day's sales.
Meanwhile, vegetable vendors saw some customers on the day but their number is much less than any normal day.
Lokman Hossain, a vegetable vendor, said only a few customers came to the market in the morning and the number of buyers increased slightly after Juma prayers. He said prices of some vegetables saw a slight decline on Friday.
Supply has also halved but they are enough for this half-empty city, he added.
Early harvested summer vegetables were available in the market.
On Friday, yard long bean was selling at Tk 60-80 a kg, pointed gourd Tk 50-60 a kg, snake gourd Tk 50-60 a kg, summer brinjal at Tk 40-60 a kg, green papaya at Tk 30-40 a kg and bottle gourd at Tk 50-70 apiece.
The prices of cauliflower and cabbage were Tk 35-40 each.
Onion was selling at Tk 45-55 a kg at the retail markets on the day.
Local garlic prices declined slightly, selling at Tk 130-140 a kg, but the imported garlic traded at its previous high of Tk 180-200 a kg.
Green chilli prices dropped to Tk 80-100 a kg from Tk 100-120 a kg earlier.
Lokman said if the current supply remained the same, the prices of vegetables and spices might be static.
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