The price of onions continues to rise in both wholesale as well as retail markets.
In the wholesale market, the price has risen from Rs15-20 per kg last month to Rs 32-35 per kg. In the retail market, onions that were selling for Rs20-25 per kg last month are now selling at Rs40-45 per kg.
Traders at the wholesale Agriculture Produce Market Committee (APMC) say the sudden increase in prices is because a lot of the crop was destroyed during transportation due to the rain, leading to high wastage.
According to APMC director Ashok Walunj, “Usually around 125 vehicles carrying onions come to the market every day. The arrivals at present are around 80 vehicles.”
With the crop production already low this year, and the current stock coming to an end, traders fear the prices could go up even higher as the new crop is expected after a few months.
“This year, initially there was severe drought and then very heavy rains, which had a negative effect on several crops including onion. That is why arrivals have reduced at the APMC market. The reduced supply has naturally led to an increase in prices,” Walunj said.
“While prices do come down on days when arrivals are on the higher side, this is not often reflected in the retail market.”
Retailers say they are suffering losses and hence have hiked their prices.
“We suffer additional losses as onion rots early in the monsoon and there is wastage which we need to cover,” said Rajesh Gupta, an onion retailer from Nerul.
“Just because the wholesale price reduces by a couple of rupees on a particular day doesn’t mean that we reduce our prices immediately. We have to average our costs and losses.”
The situation could get worse.
According to Walunj, “There has not been much production of onion in neighbouring states either. The current stock of the crop is almost over and the new crop will arrive only after a few months. Till then, prices could go up even further.”