As if paying Rs. 60 for every kilogram of onion wasn’t enough, Maharashtra agriculture minister Radakrishna Vikhe Patil on Tuesday said farmers were justified in holding on to onion stocks.
“We have to note that the farmers have suffered immensely and the production has gone down by 25%. Things should improve in the next 25 days. But what is wrong if they are holding on to their stocks? They want a good price,” he said.
He denied reports of agents hoarding the vegetable to create an artificial crisis and added that the government was not planning any intervention at this stage to control prices.
Onions on Tuesday were selling at R60-70 per kg. Vegetable vendors reported that the prices had risen by over 60 per cent in the past two months.
Rising prices of vegetables too is taking a toll on household budgets. While onion is selling at Rs. 45-50 per kg, tomato is not too far behind at Rs. 40 per kg. “It is getting increasingly difficult to manage the household budget. Mercifully, the holy month of sawan is on, so one can manage as people don’t eat non-vegetarian food. But if this trend continues, people will have to learn to cook without onions,” said Renuka Sinha, a housewife.
The prices of onion here have gone through the roof, with the vegetable being sold between Rs. 70-90 per kg in the retail market. The wholesale rate in the city is Rs. 50-60 per kg. Radheyshyam Fatak, president of Rajasthan Wholesalers Federation, said the prices were likely to come down by September-October when the new stock arrives from Alwar and from Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra.
With fresh onion produce still a month away and old stock getting exhausted fast, the price of onion crossed Rs. 60 here. According to traders, the price is likely to cross R70 in the next two days.