Onions will be used to only garnish dishes as they are being sold for Rs 50-55 a kg in wholesale markets — jumping to more than double the rate last month.
On Monday, while the Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC) website projected the price of onions as maximum Rs 5,500 for a quintal, Shivlal Bhosle, chairman of Shri Chhatrapati Shivaji Market Yard Commission Agents Association, said it was selling for Rs 51-53 a kg. However, there were some in the city who said they bought the vegetable for as high Rs 70 a kg.
Citing lack of produce, Bhosle said the price may not go down anytime soon as new crop will not come for at least a month and a half. He refuted that traders were hoarding stock.
Speaking to Newsline on condition of anonymity, a wholesaler in the city said lack of rain followed by excess rain in certain pockets has affected the crop and therefore the prices too. “There is no stock coming from Rajasthan or Gujarat. Though we expect some stock to come from Karnataka, it will not be enough to bring the price down considerably,” he said. The wholesaler further alleged that at such times, farmers cash in and hold back stock so that they can get a better price. “There is also no tab on exports in view of the upcoming elections. That is also adding to the lack of stock,” he added.
Ramdas Konde, an onion grower from Dhond who supplies the vegetable to the city, blamed the lack of electricity in their village for the crisis. “Farmers don’t have any stock. The situation is genuinely bad. The last crop I harvested was in March and was not able to sow since then because there is no electricity to pump water into the fields. We hardly get electricity for six hours a day. Labourers are also charging very high because they are not getting enough work,” he said. Konde added that he has just sown onions and expects the harvest only in February.
The news is grim for Rahul Tate, partner of Yolkshire restaurant and Sugaran Swayampakghar, who bought dry onions for Rs 70 a kg on Monday. “It is shooting up the cost of food and reducing the profit margin. If this keeps up, we will have no choice but to revise our menu rates and also reduce the ingredients,” he said.