City residents buying onions at a fair price from trucks
City residents buying onions at a fair price from trucksFile photo

The state-run Trading Corporation of Bangladesh (TCB) has seen brisk online sales of its onions. Two e-commerce platforms began selling the TCB onions from 12:00 noon on Monday, drawing in buyers immediately.

TCB allocated 1,500 kg of onions to supershop Swapno and Chaldal.com on Sunday. And on Monday, Swapno began its online sales of TCB onions from 12:00 noon, while Chaldal began at 12:30 pm.

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Speaking to Prothom Alo at 3:00pm Monday afternoon, Swapno’s chief executive officer Sabbir Hossain said that within two hours they received orders for 450 kg of onions. The orders came mostly from Dhanmondi, Gulshan and Bonosri areas.

He saw two reasons behind the higher demand for onions in the costlier areas of the city. He said that the people of these areas were more used to ordering online. Also, people were now more conscious about the price of essentials.

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The other e-commerce platform Chaldal.com, at 3:00 pm said that the demand was so high that they wouldn’t be able to take orders much longer. Chaldal’s head of growth Omar Sharif told Prothom Alo, “We began sales at around 12:30pm. We did not advertise even.” He said that most of their orders were from Mirpur, Mirpur DOHS, Rajarbagh an Uttara.

Relatively well-off persons buy online and so Tk 6 extra was being charged per kg.

TCB onions are being sold online for Tk 36 per kg. Each customer can buy up to 3 kg at a time. The e-commerce platforms are charging Tk 30 for delivery.

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Commerce minister Tipu Munshi, during a virtual event on Sunday, inaugurated the TCB onion online sales initiative. Speaking at the event, he said that many people cannot stand in a line on the street to buy TCB onions for social reasons or time constraints. And TCB has a limited capacity to increase its number of trucks. That is why e-commerce companies have been brought in to expedite online sale of onions.

Five e-commerce platforms are so far involved in the initiative. These are Chaldal, This service will be available in Dhaka and Chattogram for the time being. TCB spokespersons Humayun Kabir told Prothom Alo that two e-commerce companies took 1,500 kg of onions on Sunday.

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TCB is selling onions in Dhaka from 40 trucks around the city at Tk 30 per kg. A customer can normally buy 2 kg at a time, but if there is a large crowd then this it is cut down to 1 kg. TCB sells goods from 275 trucks across the country.

Relatively well-off persons buy online and so Tk 6 extra was being charged per kg.

The price of onions shot up in the country when India suddenly banned export of the item to Bangladesh on 14 September. The cost of local onions went above Tk 100 per kg. The price has been falling again over the past few days. Local onions are now being sold in Dhaka for Tk 80 to Tk 90 and Indian onions for Tk 65 to Tk 70 per kg.

Onion trader in the capital city’s Kawran Bazar, Shah Alam told Prothom Alo and there were very few buyers in the market. Demand had dropped.