Onions Turn Costlier than Apples, Stocks from Afghanistan, Egypt to Provide Relief by Mid-October
In Punjab, the seasonal apple is selling for Rs 60 per kg, at par with onions. A major stock of onions will arrive in Amritsar via Pakistan from Afghanistan as the government is getting ready to import onions to fill in the shortage.
A farmer sits on a tractor trolley after auctioning his onions at Lasalgaon market in Nashik. (Reuters)
Chandigarh: No Indian cuisine is complete without the use of staple onions. With the prices of onions surging in the country, common man’s budget has taken a big hit. If the trend continues, news of a truck full of onions getting stolen in Patna may be taken as a sign of times to come.
In Punjab, onions are truely acting pricey and have crossed the prices of apples in many parts of the region. The seasonal apple here is selling for Rs 60 per kg, at par with onions. The wholesale price of onions at the vegetables and fruits market in Chandigarh's Sector 26 is between Rs 40 and 41. The retail price ranges between Rs 60 and 70.
In Shimla, the hub of apple trade, the fruit’s prices start from Rs 30 a kilogram and onions are selling at Rs 60 per kg. In Dharamshala, onions are selling for Rs 60 and the top quality apple variety is priced at Rs 90 a kg.
General Secretary of the market association, Kanwarpal Singh Dua, said the reason behind the short supply of onions is the heavy rains in Madhya Pradesh and Southern parts of India. “Due to rains the stock from Madhya Pradesh was not up to the mark because of moisture. From Southern states also the new crop of onions got ruined due to heavy rainfall. In the Nasik region, from where we get onions of high grading, sowing of the new crop was delayed by a fortnight due to rains. Earlier we used to get this stock well before Diwali but now this crop will arrive well after Diwali as it will be delayed by a month.”
If that dampens your Diwali spirit, there is some good news coming soon from across the borders. A major stock of onions will be arriving in Amritsar via Pakistan from Afghanistan as the government is getting ready to import onions to fill in the short supply. “The stock will arrive via Pakistan in Amritsar in the next few days. Egypt will also supply onions to India and the stock is likely to arrive by October 15.”
“The difference between Afghan onions and the Indian variety is that the latter is of high grading, specially the one from Nasik in Maharashtra. Afghan onions are of lower grading and the packaging is of poor quality while India exceeds in packaging of onions,” Dua says.
“While wholesale prices have come down from Rs 50 earlier to Rs 40-41 now, the retail prices are up. Retailers have to pay market fees while getting the stock from us the wholesalers but some sections are making a profit of the hype created that onions are in short supply,” Dua says. “The situation will become normal in the next two to three months. Hoarding of onions is not on a large scale to cause alarm,” Dua says, adding: “Farmers also sold onions at Rs 5 in wholesale and seldom cover their expenses on the crop.”
Anuj Mahajan, wholesaler, Durga DSeeds, Sector 26 vegetable market, Chandigarh says, “Hoarding of onions is adding to the problem. Onions are selling for Rs 15-20 in wholesale rates and reached up to Rs 48. The government should take steps to stop stocking of onions to being the prices down.”
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