There seems to be no respite for household budgets, with onion prices skyrocketing steadily, climbing from Rs20 to Rs25 a kg last month to Rs70 on Monday in the retail market.
Onions, which were selling for Rs15 to Rs20 a kg in the wholesale market last month, started becoming dearer fifteen days ago (Rs32 to Rs35 a kg). By last week, the price had hit Rs32 to Rs35 a kg, and wholesalers are now selling them for Rs62 a kg.
Traders at the wholesale Agriculture Produce Market Committee (APMC) said a lot of the onion crop was destroyed during transportation because of the monsoon and that crop production has been low this year because of the drought before the rains.
The current supply has almost been exhausted, so prices could climb further as the new crop is expected by October end.
According to APMC wholesale trader Ashok Karpe, “This year, first there was a severe drought, then very heavy rain. This affected many crops, including onions, so arrivals have reduced at the APMC market.”
About 125 vehicles carry onions to the market every day, but this has come down to about 80 now.
Karpe added, “Farmers are getting better rates in their local markets, so they prefer to sell them there. The little that comes here, we sell at a higher price.”
Retailers said they hiked prices after suffering losses.
“While wholesale prices have increased, we suffer additional losses as onion rots easily in the monsoon. We have to make up for a great deal of wastage,” said Tulsiram Chowdhary, an onion retailer from Nerul.