Sold at Rs. 50 per kg; rain in onion-producing States one of the reasons behind price rise

Onion prices in the Capital have climbed to nearly Rs. 50 per kg in the retail market owing to a variety of reasons like heightened export to neighbouring Pakistan, rain in various States that supply onions, and farmers not having received a substantial rate for their produce last year.

While the wholesale price of onion ranges from Rs. 19 to Rs. 32 per kg, retail prices are 50 – 70 per cent higher. In Mother Dairy's Safal outlets, which number over 400 in the National Capital Region, onions are being sold at Rs. 36-37 per kg while local vendors are charging more than Rs. 40 per kg. Till a month ago, onion was available at Rs. 20 per kg.

Explaining the reason behind the significant rise in onion prices, Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee (Azadpur) Chairman Rajinder Kumar Sharma said fresh stocks are expected later this month after which prices will see a downward trend.

“There are many reasons for the increase in prices in the Capital,” he said, adding that “ a large consignment was exported to Pakistan this year since crops there were destroyed due to extreme weather. Also, there have been heavy rains in States such as Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan. Not only has that destroyed crops but it has also been difficult to transport stocks from these places to the Capital.”

Further, the support price given to farmers last year for their produce was very low, said Mr. Sharma. “ Many farmers shifted to other crops and did not grow onion this year. Consequently, the produce was not as much this year. Also, since landholdings are smaller in our country, the produce is also smaller,” he added. Mr. Sharma said that the public needed to be educated that onions are priced based on size and the smaller ones are still being sold at a wholesale rate of Rs. 16 per kg. “People are not aware of what they are purchasing. The taste ends up being the same.”

Last month, concerned over escalating vegetables prices, the Delhi Government had decided to conduct raids against hoarders and had asked retail traders to sell vegetables at reasonable rates. Delhi Food and Supplies Minister Haroon Yusuf had declared that there was no scarcity of onions in Delhi. He had also asked the APMC to publish wholesale prices of major vegetables in newspapers on a daily basis so that people know the actual rates.

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