New Delhi: As the festival season kicks in, with already muted celebrations due to the coronavirus pandemic, rising onion prices have further dampened spirits.
According to reports, onion was selling much higher than some “exotic” vegetables in Pune and Mumbai at up to Rs 100/kg in the retail market, Rs 100-80 in Tamil Nadu and over Rs 85 in Karnataka.
“Onion is now more expensive than some exotic vegetables in Mumbai and Pune as retail price soared to Rs 100 per kg, corresponding to rates at Nashik district’s Lasalgaon wholesale market,” said a report in MoneyControl.
On Wednesday, the Centre relaxed import norms till December 15 to facilitate the early shipment of onion to boost domestic supply and check the retail prices of the key kitchen staple.
The Union Consumer Affairs Ministry also said it would offload more onion from its buffer stock in the open market to contain price rise.
Nashik cultivates 60% of Maharashtra’s onions and the Lasalgaon agriculture produce market committee (APMC) is the largest wholesale onion market in India.
According to Money Control, the retail price of onion on Wednesday was Rs 80’100 in Mumbai and RS 100-120/kg in Pune.
Vilas Bhujbal, a commission agent at the Pune APMC, told The Times of India that supply shortage was one reason for the price hike, adding that Pune’s market received only half their usual supply with only 40-50 trucks on October 21,
In Lasalgaon, the APMC chairperson, Suvarna Jagtap, blamed heavy rainfall for the supply shortage of onions, as quite a lot of the crop was damaged.
“According to estimates by the Maharashtra State Onion Growers' Association, 50% kharif and late kharif onion crops were damaged by heavy rains,” the MoneyControl report said.
In fact, APMC officials in Laslagaon, one of the biggest onion hubs, said that there was a supply shortfall of about 70% in two months -- from 22,000 quintals/day in August to 7,000 quintals/day the past week (October).
Onion in Nashik’s retail markets itself are selling at Rs 80/kg, and one can well imagine what the prices would be in other cities and towns.
In TN, Stalin Alleges Hoarding Behind Price Rise
According to a PTI report from Chennai, the Tamil Nadu government has begun sale of onions through its farm fresh outlets at a subsidised cost of Rs 45 a kilo in the wake of the commodity's spiralling price .
Meanhwile, the Opposition DMK alleged that hoarding was behind the price rise and asked the AIADMK government not to implement the Centre's three farm laws in the state.
Retail prices of onion in Tamil Nadu have crossed Rs 100, said PTI.
The state government factors like rains had led to the price rise ruled out any scope for “hoarding” onions.
Stalin, in a statement, demanded that the government should take steps on a "war footing" to make onion available at reasonable prices to all.
Supply constraints due to heavy rains and flooding have also hitting onion prices in Karnataka.
According to Deccan Herald, the price of onions has skyrocketed in Mangaluru.
“Smaller onions cost Rs 60 per kg in APMCs while the price of bigger on cost Rs 60 per kg in APMCs while the price of bigger onions has increased to Rs 85 per kg. The prices are likely to reach Rs 100 per kg, the traders said,” according to the report.
Retail prices of onion have been spiralling since the end of August with the sharpest rise in the past 10 days.