Onions turns dearer, prices likely to go up further

Last Updated : 20 August 2015, 15:22 IST
Last Updated : 20 August 2015, 15:22 IST

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With onion prices across the country on the upswing, the common man is feeling the pinch. Onion prices crossed the Rs 70 per kg mark at many places on Thursday with most people complaining that the government was not doing enough to contain the price rise.

The  Nashik-based National Horticultural Research and Development Foundation (NHRDF),  in its latest report, has said that the onion prices are likely to remain on the  higher side till September-end.

The  foundation also pointed out that out of the storage stock of 40 lakh tonnes  in July this year, 50 percent has been consumed and only about  16-18 lakh tonnes is left over.

In the national capital, onions were selling at Rs.65 per kg in retail, up from Rs.25  per kg just over a month ago.

In  Chandigarh, Shimla and adjoining areas, onions were selling at Rs.70 per kg  and even more.

"We have told our customers that onions  will no longer be served as a salad item free of cost. They have to pay Rs 30  extra for a plateful of onions," Pritam Singh, a dhaba owner in Chandigarh told  IANS.

With the festival season round the  corner, onion prices in Mumbai could breach the Rs.100 per kg mark soon, a top  official said in India's commercial capital on Thursday.

"Presently, the wholesale rate is  around Rs.55/kg, which is expected to go up another average of 15 percent over  the next couple of days. This will have a natural effect in the retail markets,"  Agriculture Produce Market Committee (Onions & Potato) chief Ashok Walunj told IANS.

Given the ongoing dry spell in most  parts of Maharashtra, Walunj apprehended that the retail onion prices in urban  centres like Mumbai, Pune and Nagpur could breach the Rs.100 per kg mark in the  next couple of weeks.

The wholesale prices of onion in Lasalgaon market in Maharashtra's Nashik district, during August increased by around 65 percent  compared to the previous month and around 117 percent compared to last August.

"Onion prices started increasing from mid-July onwards in the Maharashtra and other markets due to less arrival because  of slow release of stored stock by the farmers with the expectation of more  prices in the coming days due to erratic rains in Maharashtra and the delayed kharif  crop," the NHRDF pointed out.

"The wholesale prices of onion in Delhi  market during the month of August 2015 increased by around 52 percent compared  to previous month and around 63 percent compared to last year during August,"  the foundation added.

As per data available with Agmarknet, an initiative of the agriculture ministry, the average all-India wholesale price of normal sized onion was Rs.5,000 per quintal and Rs.6,800 per quintal for the large-sized ones.

Local vendors in Maharashtra say that transportation issues  and irregular rains have led to the hike in the onion prices, adding to the  miseries of the buyers. The prices are likely to increase even further, they said.

"Last week my most of the stock got destroyed due to  rain. We cannot transport the commodity everyday to the mandi but have to store  them here," Shashi Kumar, an onion trader at New Delhi's Azadpur mandi told IANS.

A vegetable seller in Lucknow's Hariharnagar Market  told IANS that the onion prices last month were Rs.25 a kg and then started  steadily rising.

Housewives blame the onion price rise to "hoarding and  black marketing".
Bina Sharma, a retired doctor living in Lucknow's Nirala  Nagar, told IANS: "Onion prices are out to destroy our household budget once again.  We were very hopeful after the (Narendra) Modi government was sworn in but prices have gone  up and now we are a worried lot."

Two people connected with onion trade in Bengaluru blamed the rains for the high onion prices.

"Onion prices have shot up because all the sown onion seeds got washed away due to rains. Now, the prices will only reduce if onions from Maharashtra get supplied. If onions do not come from Maharashtra, the high prices will prevail," said S.

Balakrishna, vice president, Bagatha Onion Union Association, Bengaluru.
"All the old onion stock is over, new onions should come from Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh for the onion price to reduce. It will take three months, maybe from December better onion prices will be available," said Santosh Kumar of Annai Traders in Russell Market, Shivaji Nagar, Bengaluru.

Kumar is currently selling onions in three grades, a kilogram of premium onions at Rs.56-60, medium onions at Rs.28 and basic quality at Rs.24.

In Kerala, where Onam festival is round the corner,  onion prices are causing worries.
"Today, I am selling it at Rs.65 a kg, whereas a week  back it was Rs 40. With the festival season of Onam round the corner the price could cross Rs 70," vegetable vendor Ramesh told IANS in Thiruvananthapuram.

Reshmi Nair, a housewife in the Kerala capital, said that for the time being, she is saved as last week she purchased around five kg of onions at Rs.39 per kg and this would last through the Onam week.

Some housewives are cutting down on onion usage in their  homes.

"I use onions in every vegetable, but the steep hike in  the prices has now forced me to do without onions in my kitchen. For me it is no  more affordable at Rs.70 a kg,"  Archana Bharti, a housewife, told IANS in Shimla.

"The common man feels cheated by the continuous price rise of  essential
commodities," she added, blaming the Modi government for not doing  enough to check onion prices.

Published 20 August 2015, 09:43 IST

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