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Onions continue to bring tears

Prices of onion continue to rise in the wholesale market as unabated rains lash the onion producing areas. G Mohiuddin Jeddy reports.

india Updated: Dec 17, 2009 19:43 IST
G Mohiuddin Jeddy

Prices of onion continue to rise in the wholesale market as unabated rains lash the onion producing areas. The next few days are crucial as the exact extent of crop damage is expected to be known, when the farmers go to their fields and the supplies to the wholesale market begin.

Onion prices in the wholesale market have risen further from a high of Rs 20 per kg last week to Rs 23-26 per kg this week. The prices were just Rs 5 per kg in September rising to Rs 15 per kg in October, a hike of 500 per cent in just two months.

In the retail market, the price was Rs 12 per kg in September, increasing to Rs 25 per kg in October and Rs 30 per kg last week. Presently it is selling for Rs 30-32 per kg.

According to Ashok Karpe, a vegetable wholesaler at the wholesale APMC market in Vashi, “It has been raining incessantly in the onion producing regions like Nasik and Ahmednagar. This has affected supplies to the market. Only around half the 150 vehicles that arrive usually are coming.”

Added Karpe, “A quarter of the supplies is of old stock, which is of good quality and hence priced in the range of Rs 23-26 per kg. The new stock is selling for upto Rs 22 per kg. because the rains have affected its quality.”

"It is a wait and watch time for the traders, informed Karpe. “We have learnt that the skies have cleared today. The farmers will now go to the fields to get the produce. In a week’s time, we should be able to get the new crop,” he said.

Not that it will change the situation much. “Half the crop has been destroyed due to rain. Hence, the supplies will not be as they should be. Naturally the pressure will continue and the prices will not come down for sometime.”

“Though our cost has gone up, we haven’t increased the price of onion by much, this week. If we increase any further, the customers will really be upset and it will affect our sales,” said Prakash Mishra, a vegetable vendor.

“However, we will not be able to hold on for long, if the prices in the wholesale market increase further,” added Mishra.