Floods in north Karnataka push onion prices up in south

Pricey pick

Onion and potato prices are steadily going up after floods in north Karnataka and Maharashtra hit the crops hard. 

There is an alarm in Bengaluru and other districts as a major share of these vegetables come from Hassan, north Karnataka districts and parts of Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh. Monsoon rains have literally washed away crops in these parts. 

The disrupted transport network between Maharashtra and Karnataka and other parts of north India like Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh has also contributed to the rise in prices.

In less than a week's time, onion and potato prices have gone up by Rs 5 to 6 per kilogram. The rates are likely to shoot up further according to market experts, considering the situation across north Karnataka and Maharashtra. They fear Bengaluru is bracing for an onion, potato crunch.

Traders at the Yeshwantpur market told DH that though the prices have gone up slightly, the supply has been steady. But they fear bad roads may soon affect supply.

P Shivakumar, vice president of Potato and Onion Traders Association, confirmed that crops have been washed away, but pointed out that the vegetables lasted all these days as they were exhausting the piled-up stock by farmers. "Any delay in clearing stocks during the rainy season will result in the rotting of the crop. Bengaluru, which received 27 tonnes of onions on Thursday, was flooded with 45,000 tonnes on Friday. But in the coming days, the prices are expected to increase considerably," he said.

B L Shankarappa, president of the association, said, "The farmers are clearing their stock as they fear more rain and cloudy conditions may spoil the onions. But we do not have space to accommodate such a huge quantity. Already, several trucks have been held up in various places. The problem will be compounded as the flood situation shows no signs of easing.”

At present, Bengaluru is dependent on the local and Pune variety of onions. “People prefer onions from Pune as they do not turn dark while frying and taste good,” a trader explained.

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