The prices of different varieties of onion started coming down, both in wholesale and retail markets across the city on Wednesday, according to traders and consumers.
In the city's retail markets, onion of local varieties was sold at Tk 180-190 a kg, while imported ones at Tk 120-150 a kg on the day. Onion of local varieties was sold at Tk 200-220 a kg, while imported ones at Tk 140-160 on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, a consignment of 82 tonnes of onion reached Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport (HSIA) on Wednesday night from Pakistani port-city of Karachi.
Another consignment, brought from Egypt by Saudi Airlines, was scheduled to arrive at HSIA on Wednesday night.
The Biman Bangladesh Airlines announced on Wednesday that it will not take any charge for importing onion in the country through airways.
According to the existing provision, an importer has to pay Tk 18 for bringing each kg of perishable goods, including onion, as air cargo.
The Ministry of Civil Aviation and Tourism in a circular issued on the day said the national flag carrier (Biman) will not realise charges for bringing onion in the country for consumers' interest.
Secretary of the ministry Md Mohibul Haque told the media that the decision will continue until the local onion market becomes stable.
He also said the government will provide support to the traders, who will import onion.
Visiting Shyambazar wholesale market in the city on Wednesday the FE correspondent found onion of local varieties was being sold at Tk 150-180 a kg depending on their quality, and varieties imported from Egypt, China and Myanmar at Tk 100-150 a kg.
Onion of local varieties was sold at Tk 190-200 a kg, and imported varieties at Tk 130-160 a kg in the same market on Tuesday.
"We're selling fine quality onion of local varieties at Tk 190 a kg," said Md Jalal, a salesman of Noor Uddin Store at Katpan Bazar, on Wednesday.
When asked why the prices of onion are still high, he said they purchased the spice at Tk 180 a kg from Bhai Bhai Banijjaloy at Shyambazar in the city in the morning (Wednesday).
Onion was traded at around Tk 250 a kg, depending on variety and quality, at retail level a few days ago due to supply crunch.
The prices of the spice soared abnormally following export ban by the neighbouring India, imposed on September 29, as well as the recent cyclone 'Bulbul' that damaged onion fields in many areas in the country.
After the price hike, the government and private sector traders took initiatives for importing onion from different countries for fulfilling local demand.
The government decided to import onion from Egypt, China, Turkey and Myanmar through air cargo following short supply of the spice.
The state-run Trading Corporation of Bangladesh (TCB) is importing onion from Turkey, while the private sector organisations are importing the spice from Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Afghanistan.
The TCB is also selling onion, mainly of imported varieties, at Tk 45 a kg from trucks at different points of the city under open market sale (OMS) programme.
Vice-president of Shyambazar Traders Association Md Mazed told the media that onion prices will come down to a tolerable level soon.
Sajjad, a salesman of Bismillah Traders at Kaptan Bazar, told the FE that onion prices will decline further once sufficient supply of onion of indigenous varieties will enter the markets.
The farmers have started harvesting new onion in Faridpur, Rajbari, Magura and other parts of the country.
Meanwhile, the government's monitoring teams continued their drives in Shyambazar and other kitchen markets to oversee the market prices of onion, salt and other essential commodities.
Five wholesale shops in Shyambazar market were fined Tk 22,000 on Wednesday, as traders of the shops could not show their price lists to the government monitoring teams.
"We will continue our drives in the markets to oversee the prices of essentials to ensure consumers' interests," assistant director of the Directorate of National Consumers' Rights Protection (DNCRP) Abdul Jabbar Mandal told the FE on Wednesday.
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