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Updated: February 8, 2013 09:26 IST

Onion price touches an eye-watering Rs. 34 a kg

Anil Kumar Sastry
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Traders expect a dip this week when fresh stocks arrive

It’s not just the staple Sona Masuri rice that has become costlier. The price of onion, a must-have in most cuisines, has shot up by Rs. 10 a kilo in a month, selling in retail at an eye-watering Rs. 34 a kg.

The poor man’s condiment, which was being sold at just Rs. 20 to Rs. 22 a kg a month ago in Bangalore, is now hovering at Rs. 32 to Rs. 34, according to Nagaraj, a grocer on Ullal Main Road.

Mr. Nagaraj said when he sourced his stock from the wholesale market last week, it was Rs. 28 a kg, compared to Rs. 16 a month ago.

This increase in price has affected individual households and hotel owners as well since onion is an integral part of daily food.

Raghavendra Karanth, who runs a hotel, said he has had to cut back on the use of onions in the dishes to ride the price rise. There is also talk of hotel owners preparing to increase prices. Shakuntala Shetty, a homemaker in Jayanagar 5th Block, said that her family requires at least five kg onion a month as she uses the aromatic bulb for every other dish. “It’s difficult to prepare food without onion and now I am making up using tomato and capsicum.”

Onion merchants, however, expect the price should come down in the coming days.

S. Balakrishna, vice-president, Bangalore Potato and Onion Merchants’ Association, told The Hindu the wholesale price of fine quality onion in Bangalore market has dropped by about Rs. 2 over the weekend (from Rs. 24 to Rs. 22 a kg). Its effect should be visible in the retail market in about three days since retailers have to sell their existing stock.

He, however, ruled out a repeat of 2008-09 when the price of onion touched a vertiginous Rs. 80 to Rs. 85 a kg. With the new crop in north Karnataka almost ready for harvest and produce from Maharashtra arriving in good quantity, the price is set to decrease, Mr. Balakrishna said. The demand for a ban on onion export too could exert pressure in price reduction in the local market, he felt.

The Bangalore Agriculture Produce Marketing Committee receives an average of 10,000 quintals of onion every working day. But at least half the produce gets distributed to neighbouring districts and States.

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