Onion prices continue to remain high at Rs 80-120 per kg across states
The high price is expected till mid-November when the new onion crop from some parts of Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh is expected to arrive in the markets.Updated: Oct 22, 2020, 19:59 IST
Onion prices ranged between Rs 80 to Rs 120 per kg in the retail markets in different cities, upsetting the household grocery budgets that are witnessing a constraint due to higher vegetable prices in the past one month.
The high price is expected till mid-November when the new onion crop from some parts of Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh is expected to arrive in the markets.
There is a short supply of onions as crops have been damaged due to excessive rains in October in parts of Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh.
In Lasalgaon, Asia’s biggest onion market, the prices of onions soared to Rs 7,050 per quintal on Thursday from Rs 4,801 per quintal a month ago.
Narendra Wadhavane, secretary Agriculture Produce Marketing Committee (APMC), Lasalga, said there is a tremendous shortage of onions due to the devastation caused by the rains.
“We hardly have 4000 quintal of stock in the market currently compared to the normal 12,000 to 15,000 quintals in normal times,” Wadhavane said, adding that one-tenth of the trucks are bringing produce to the market as compared to normal times.
On Thursday, onion was being sold at Rs 120 per kilogram in Chandigarh. “There is huge short storage of onions coming from Maharashtra,” said a vegetable trader, Rashwinder Singh, at Chandigarh wholesale fruit and vegetable market.
In the industrial town of Ludhiana, onion has gone missing from the daily menu of many families as the prices touched Rs 100 per kilogram with the average price in the past two months being Rs 50.
“We are not getting the requisite supply from Nashik. Crop from Rajasthan will take another month to arrive. Till then the prices will remain high,” said Gurkamal Singh, president, Arhtiya Association in Ludhiana district.
In Lucknow, the retail price of onion was Rs 80 per kilo, double from the rate a fortnight ago. “A fortnight earlier the mandi onion prices were between Rs 30 and Rs 33,” said Sabir (who goes by the first name), saying as prices have risen there are also not enough buyers.
Meera Yadav (54) gives the reason for Sabir not having buyers.
“Onion is selling at Rs 80 per kg. Potato is at Rs 60 kg. Tomato at Rs 60 kg and gourd is selling at Rs 40 per kg. For a middle-class family like us which runs on limited income, we have no option but to reduce buying of these vegetables and cut on education to manage the household budget,” he said.
Bhopal-based Ankur Tandon, resident of Sarabha Nagar, who works with a private marketing firm, said his entire monthly budget has gone haywire. “We are already managing with difficulty as my wife, who worked as a nursery teacher lost her job during the lockdown and I suffered a salary cut. The rising prices of onions have upset the entire budget,” he said.
In Mumbai, a kilogram of onions was being sold for 100 on Thursday. Khushi Gupta, who lives in Lokhandwala, Andheri, said the rise in prices has turned into a double whammy for her.
“We are now cutting down on the use of onions as we have already suffered due to lockdown. I don’t have a job for the last seven months and this has only made things worse,” she said.
Hemlata Joshi, a housewife from Jeolikote in Uttarakhand’s Nainital, said, “We have almost stopped using onion in our dishes given the sky-high prices. The state government should do something to control the rate of vegetables like potatoes and onion in hilly areas.”
Residents, however, believe that vendors are making a huge profit. Sandeep Bhalla, secretary of federation of sector welfare associations Chandigarh (FOSWAC), said as weekly sector mandis are closed, vendors are taking advantage and are charging higher rates than approved by the local administration. “People have no option but to bring down consumption,” he said.
Hotels and restaurants have either stopped giving onions in salad or have increased prices of dishes. Chandar Prakash Khanduri, a dhaba owner in Library Bazaar in Haldwani, said, “We have been left with no option but to increase the prices of the vegetables that have onion as one of the ingredients.”
Rajasthan, from where onion supply is likely to start from mid-November, has some good news. President Muhana Mandi in Jaipur, Rahul Tanwar said onions from Sikar and other places would come by mid-November. “The crop is good and it can put a check on the surge of onion prices,” he said.