Onion prices are going through the roof, and you can blame it on the rain. The torrential downpours this year have damaged part of the crop, pushing retail prices from Rs 15 per kg in mid-August to Rs 25 on Saturday.
Traders say prices are likely to remain high for at least two more weeks.
Ironically, onion prices normally fall in this period every year with the arrival of fresh stocks.
Onion prices are politically a hot-button issue, with governments often falling because of rising prices. In 1989, some Bharatiya Janata Party state governments lost power on the back of soaring prices. <b1>
Onion is an important economic indicator and is one of the five foods — potato, rice, wheat and pulses are the others — whose prices are used to calculate the inflation rate. Rising onion prices usually mean a rise in prices of other essentials too.
Besides that, it is an important ingredient of Indian cuisine and a rise in prices directly affects household budgets.
Ashok Karpe, a trader at Vashi’s wholesale market, told
: “Presently, it’s the old stock that’s arriving from Nashik and Malegaon, priced between Rs 180 and Rs 200 per 10 kg in the wholesale market. There is a shortfall of 50 per cent.
It will take 15 to 20 days for us to get stocks from Ahmednagar and Sangamner. Prices should fall to Rs 150 per 10 kg in two weeks.”
Traders said only 100 onion-laden trucks were arriving every day, as opposed to the normal average of 125.