The commodity is being sold even at Rs. 28 per kg at some retail outlets in the city

Onion, the “dethroner”, is at it again. This vital ingredient of the poor man’s diet is set to give goose-bumps to the powers that be by getting dearer by the day and breeding discontent among its consumers.

The price of onion, which hovered around Rs.16 per kilogram a month ago, has touched Rs.24 now. Sources said the commodity was being sold even at Rs 28 per kg at some retail outlets in the city. “About six months ago, I purchased onions at Rs.12 per kg. A month ago, it rose to Rs.16 per kg, and the sellers attributed it to the rise in diesel price. Now, the price has gone up to Rs.25 per kg. Onion is an essential ingredient of everyday cooking, and majority of our curries have it on the recipe. We can’t do without it, nor can we use it liberally if prices are this high,” lamented K.Vijaya Lakshmi, a housewife from Kothapet.

However, the current price rise has more to do with reduced cultivation and less with the hike in diesel price. According to official figures, onion cultivation this year recorded a 40 per cent decline compared to that of the previous year. Last year, onion was cultivated on 40,000 hectares statewide during the Kharif cropping season, and on 10,000 hectares during Rabi. This year, the extent was brought down to 22,000 hectares during Kharif and 8,000 hectares during Rabi, dashing hopes of a fresh yield even in March.

Onion is also imported from Maharashtra on a regular basis. However, this time around, even the yield from Maharashtra came down, resulting in a drastic decline in loads arriving in the city.

“Due to scanty rainfall, farmers abstained from sowing. Earlier, only farmers under wells cultivated it, but nowadays, it is also being grown as a rain-fed crop. The irrigated variety has less shelf life, and can’t be preserved long,” said S. Malla Reddy from the AP Rythu Sangam.

He demanded that the government procure the yield and distribute it through FP shops to curb illegal trading.

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