Consumers in the winter capital of the state heaved a sigh of relief as markets began selling onions grown in Afghanistan and imported from Pakistan via Amritsar. The imported onions are being sold `10 cheaper than the ones from Maharashtra's Nasik area, which are priced `65 per kg.
Jammu consumes around 50-60 tonnes of onion per day.
"At present around one or two truckloads of onion from Afghanistan are coming to Jammu each day for the last couple of days. It has eased things to some extent," an onion wholesaler in Jammu's main vegetable market at Narwal, Ashwani Sharma, said.
Ashwani dismissed the possibility of the onion prices coming down in the next few weeks. He said the prices will instead jump further. "Onions stored in warehouses have been brought to the market… also the demand was a bit slow due to festival (during which people stop consuming onion) in West Bengal. Now with the additional supply ending and the festival ending on Saturday, the prices will again jump," he added.
He said the prices will fall after the arrival of fresh stock from Alwar, Rajasthan, in October. "Till then prices will hover around `70 per kg," he added.
Ashwani also admitted that consumers hardly bought the imported onions again. "The quality of Afghan onion is inferior. There are a few takers for this variety in the city, but the maximum quantity is sold in other parts of the Jammu region," he said.
Moreover, sellers complain that the price of the Afghan onion has increased as compared to the previous years. Vegetable vendor Radhay Sham said, "A couple of years ago, when the onion prices here hit the roof, the Afghanistan onion sold around `30-35 per kg. But this time, its (afghan variety) price too has increased."