Already struggling with milk crisis, the state’s residents may now face a shortage of onions, as onion traders in Nasik went on an indefinite strike from Monday. Nasik is a major onion supplier to Jharkhand and onion prices are likely to go up if the strike continues.
“Nasik meets 40-50% of state’s demand of onions. So, prices will go up for sure, if supply reduces. We hope the strike ends in a day or two,” said Deepak Kumar Gupta, a wholesale trader of potato and onions. Besides Nasik, Jharkhand also gets supply from Madhya Pradesh and local districts like Palamu.
Manoj Kumar, an onion trader of RK Trading from Satana in Nasik, confirmed that the traders went on indefinite strike. Prices of potato and onions have already shot up to 53% in retail or vegetable markets compared to the wholesale market in Ranchi. However, currently there is no such shortage of the items in the city and price at wholesale market has been stable for the last 10 days.
At present a kilogram potato or onion costs anything between Rs. 20 to 22 in the retail or vegetable markets of the state capital, which was just around Rs. 16 three days back. But, prices of the same items have been around Rs. 13 to 14 for last 10 days in the wholesale markets at Pandra Krishi Bazar.
“Due to shortage of potato in Uttar Pradesh, its import to the state has stopped and we are depending on the supply from West Bengal. This is why, price of potato is soaring,” said a potato-onion seller at Lalpur vegetable market.
However, wholesale traders have denied any hitch in supply of these vegetables to the state capital. “Supply of potato from Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal is as usual. There was no snag in supply till Saturday and prices too were unchanged. A packet (50kg) of potato was sold at Rs. 670 till Saturday,” said Anil Gupta, president of Aloo-Pyaj Vikreta Sangh (APVS).
Gupta, who is also a wholesale trader of potato and onion at Pandra Bazar, said, “Arrival of onion was partially low at the mandi on Saturday but this shouldn’t have had any effect on its price. Per kg price of onion was Rs. 12 to Rs. 14 depending upon the quality. However, if this situation persists, onion price may increase in coming weeks.”
Rate evaluator of Marketing Board, Sambhu Sharan Singh said that around 2000 quintals of potato and 800-1000 quintals of onion arrive in Ranchi every day from different parts of the country. “There is no shortage of potato. But, onion supply has declined partially,” Singh said.