The prices of onion showed a slight decline both in the retail and wholesale markets in Dhaka city on Friday.
Traders said the onion prices dropped a bit after the government agency concerned intensified their monitoring drives in Chattogram and Dhaka.
Local varieties were sold at Tk 130-Tk 135 per kilogramme while imported Burmese and Turkish varieties at Tk 120-Tk 125 a kg in most of the city's retail markets on Friday- a Tk 5.0-Tk 10 decline in a day.
Prices of the spice also dropped by Tk 8.0-Tk 12 a kg at Karwan Bazar, Shyambazar and Beribadh wholesale markets on the day.
Narayan Chandra Saha, trader at Shyambazar in the city, said they opened their shops on Friday morning to ensure adequate supply of onion in Dhaka city, although it was a market holiday in the area.
He said the price of Burmese onion declined by Tk 10-Tk 12 a kg at Shyambazar thanks to stepped up-vigilance at import level in Chattogram and Cox's Bazar.
They sourced Burmese onion at Tk 78 a kg on Thursday which was Tk 90-Tk 94 earlier, Mr Saha added. Burmese varieties of onion were sold at Tk 84-Tk 88 a kg at Shyambazar on Friday morning.
Local onion was traded at Tk 106-Tk 110 a kg. Prices would fall further if the drives continue in Dhaka and Chattogram, he said.
Earlier, Shyambazar traders in Dhaka on Thursday night made a decision that onion prices wwould range between Tk 55 and Tk 90 a kg from Friday morning.
The wholesale prices of onion imported from Egypt, China and Turkey were fixed between Tk 55 and Tk 60 a kg, the Myanmar variety Tk 80 to Tk 85, and the local variety at Tk 90, according to the meeting decisions.
The Directorate of National Consumer Rights Protection (DNCRP) conducted a mobile court drive on the Shyambazar on Friday to check whether the businesses were following their own decision.
Four of the traders were fined for violating the decision while the others were selling onion at the fixed prices, the directorate's Assistant Director Abdul Jabbar Mandal told a news agency.
Even though the prices of onion started declining, the commerce minister at a programme on Friday said the prices of onion will not come below Tk 100 a kg within next two weeks.
He made the remark while talking to journalists at a hotel in Rangpur city on the day, according to media reports.
The minister said: "The prices might go down after locally-produced onion hits the market at the end of this month. It is very unlikely that onion prices would decrease before that."
He further said 50,000 tonnes of onion are expected to arrive from Egypt following which prices might go down slightly.
When asked, Consumers Association of Bangladesh (CAB) secretary Humayun Kabir Bhuiyan said the commerce minister's remark might cause further hike in the prices of onion from Saturday.
He said the Ministry of Commerce and Directorate of National Consumers Right Protection (DNCRP)-run mobile courts have proved that onion imported at Tk 42-Tk 45 a kg were being sold at Tk 100-120 a kg at wholesales in Chattogram and Dhaka.
Mr Bhuiyan also urged the commerce minister to make comments based on the data and facts to prevent volatility in the commodity market.
The onion market started becoming volatile in Bangladesh after neighbouring India imposed an export ban on onion on September 29 last.
India on October 28 relaxed its export ban, permitting shipment of 'Bengaluru Rose' variety of onion only through Chennai port until November 30.
But Bangladeshi importers did not show interest to import the variety for its high prices.
Bangladesh produced 1.9 million tonnes of onion and imported 1.1 million tonnes in the last fiscal year. The country's total demand for onion is maximum 2.4 million tonnes, according to the commerce ministry.
© 2017 - All Rights with The Financial Express