Onion prices in Dhaka retail markets have gone up by Tk15 per kilogramme over the last two days as the government has halted importing the essential commodity since earlier this month without any announcement.
Import is being controlled to ensure onion farmers a fair price for the commodity, according to agriculture ministry officials.
Importers said the halt has been in place since 5 May.
Traders at several markets in the capital said local and imported onions are now being sold at Tk45 per kg, which was Tk30-35 even after Eid.
Shahinur, a grocer on Dilu Road at Moghbazar, said he bought onions from Karwan Bazar, the largest kitchen market in the city, at a higher price.
He is now selling onions at Tk45 per kg.
Moulvibazar-based onion importer and wholesaler Majidur Rahman said, "The government is not allowing the import of onions resulting in a hike in prices."
"If import is not allowed soon, the price may go up further," he warned.
Wholesalers in Karwan Bazar were selling onions at Tk36-40 per kg on Thursday afternoon, up from Tk30 two days ago.
Wholesale onion seller at the market Md Mostafa said prices were rising on the news of a halt in Indian onion imports.
Unannounced import halt
AKM Ali Ahad Khan, additional secretary of import and internal trade wing of the commerce ministry, told The Business Standard, "The agriculture ministry is controlling import permit issuance to ensure fair price of onions [for farmers]. That is why the price of onion has gone up a bit."
However, the additional secretary said the commerce ministry will make a request to the agriculture ministry to withdraw the halt in import permit issuance to traders if they fear the market may go volatile.
This import permit is issued by the Plant Quarantine Wing of the Agricultural Extension Department.