For the last two weeks, Fahmida Rahman, a resident at the city's Taltola, has not been cooking chicken for her family because she has been keeping a "safe" distance from costly onions, an important ingredient for cooking meat in Bangladesh.
Fahmida has also stopped cooking supplementary dishes that require onions. Her four-member family usually consumes seven kg onions per month but an unbridled price hike has forced her to limit the amount to only 2-2.5 kg.
On Monday, she bought half kg onions from Karwan Bazar at Tk190 per kg. "Last week, I returned from the market with nothing because the price of local onions was as high as Tk250 per kg."
At Karwan Bazar retail market, the price of local onions dropped by Tk10 to Tk15, but it is still beyond commoner's reach, Fahmida said, adding she would wait for a further drop in price before buying onions in bigger quantities.
Like Fahmida, many people in different retail markets of the city were seen buying onions in small quantities.
Retailers said onion prices have decreased in retail markets but the overall scenario has not changed as people are waiting for the prices to come down further after the arrival of new onions at city markets.
"Demand has dropped considerably as the consumers have stopped purchasing several kgs of onions at a time," said Iqbal, a retailer at Karwan Bazar.
At Karwan Bazar retail market, locally-produced onions that mostly came from Pabna and Faridpur were sold for Tk190 to Tk200 per kg on Monday, while Burmese onions for Tk190 per kg and Egyptian ones for Tk180 per kg.
Wholesale price keeps dropping in Dhaka
Meanwhile, wholesale prices of onions in the capital have kept on falling for the last three days. On Monday, prices fell by Tk70 per kg at Shyambazar wholesale market.
The wholesale price of local onions at Shyambazar was Tk150 to Tk160 per kg, from Tk210 to Tk230 per kg two days ago. Besides, new onions were sold for Tk100 to Tk120 per kg, while imported onions for Tk90 to Tk120 per kg.
Wholesalers said retailers have stopped buying onions for they hope that prices will drop further when new onions come to the market.
Kalam Sheikh, a wholesaler of Karwan Bazar said, "Only three days ago, the price of onion was Tk9000 per maund but today (Monday) it is Tk6000. An unstable onion market is causing losses for us."
Sujan, another onion seller, said, "Before the price hike, I sold nearly 20 sacks of onion per day, but yesterday (Sunday), I sold only one sack. The price has dropped today (Monday) too, but people are not buying that much."
Khatunganj wholesale market sees Tk50 fall per kg
Onion prices at Khatunganj wholesale market also dropped by Tk50 per kg on Monday.
A sudden downward sloping demand in an unstable market and onion import from China and Egypt have triggered the price fall, said the traders.
Better quality onions imported from Myanmar were sold on Monday for Tk120 to Tk130 a kg, while the Chinese ones for Tk110 to Tk120 per kg.
Md Idris, the general secretary of the Hamid Ullah Market Traders' Welfare Association, said total 420 tonnes of onions came in the last two days to Khatunganj from China, Myanmar and Egypt.
"Not many buyers are coming to the wholesale market even though the supply has gone up, causing a sharp price fall," he said, adding the prime minister's declaration of onion import through air cargo might have also contributed to the decline.
The market will restore stability soon provided the falling trend persists, Idris said.
Up to Thursday last, total 5,947 tonnes of onions came to the country through the Chattogram port, while the port authorities released 80 tonnes on Friday.