The state-run Trading Corporation of Bangladesh (TCB) is selling onions online at Tk 36 per kg. A consumer can buy 3kgs at a time. E-commerce companies can charge a maximum Tk 30 for delivery.
Commerce minister Tipu Munshi inaugurated the TCB online onion sales at a virtual event on Sunday. He said, 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.
The commerce minister said, the government is planning to important large volumes of onions through TCB this time. Large traders will also import onions and supply TCB.
At the virtual event it was announced that the buyers will be able to place their orders for onions online from Sunday evening or Monday morning.
Five e-commerce platforms are so far involved in the initiative. These are Chaldal, Swapno Online, Sindabad.com and Sabzibazaar.com. From Monday Bdsole and ekShop may join too. Other companies will gradually come on board. TCB for now will provide each platform with 500 kg of onion every 3 days. A monitoring committee will ensure that one buyer cannot by onions several times. This service will be available in Dhaka and Chattogram.
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.
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 two days.
TCB chairman Md Ariful Hasan, e-CAB president Shomi Kaiser, commerce ministry officials and e-CAB members joined the event.