Chennai

Onions sell for ₹90 a kg in Koyambedu wholesale market

Workers unloading onions in Koyambedu market on Tuesday.  

As onion supply to the city remains scanty, the price of 1 kg of the vegetable touched ₹90 in the Koyambedu wholesale market on Tuesday. It will take at least two months for the prices to drop and this will happen only after the arrival of fresh harvest, traders noted.

Heavy rain in onion producing States and crop damage had led to a supply crunch. While the cost of most vegetables is relatively stable, onions and carrots have been priced high at the wholesale market.

Onion arrivals to Koyambedu dipped to 35-40 truckloads on Tuesday from the daily average of 70-80.

Wholesalers noted that the price of onion varied from ₹40 to ₹90 per kg, depending on the quality. Small onions sold for up to ₹110 per kg.

Onions from Maharashtra contribute 45%-50% of the supply to the city, while the rest comes from Telangana and Karnataka.

However, heavy rain and labour shortage during the harvest had resulted in a dip in production.

P. Sukumar, treasurer, Koyambedu Vegetables, Fruits and Flowers Merchants’ Association, said, “The arrivals of small onions has also reduced by half. Carrots cost up to ₹100 a kg as rain in the Nilgiris has destroyed the crops. We may have to wait till mid-December for onion prices to come down.”

In a measure similar to last year, when the price of onions peaked to ₹140 per kg in December, wholesale traders have started sourcing onions from Egypt and a few truck loads trickled into the market this week.

John Valtharis, president, Koyambedu Onion Wholesale Traders’ Association, said, “It will take a fortnight for more onions imported from Egypt to arrive from Mumbai port to Chennai. Egyptian onions are sold for ₹50-₹60 per kg. Some traders are also sourcing the produce from countries like Iran and Afghanistan.”

Wholesalers suggested that the government should explore the open ventilated warehousing model used to store onions in Brazil and Israel to prevent such recurring price hikes.

Preventing hoarding

As an effort to prevent hoarding, officials of the Koyambedu Market Management Committee have started conducting frequent checks since Monday. Officials noted that hoarding had not been observed so far.

Meanwhile, the Cooperative Department will start selling onions at a subsidised price of ₹45 per kg in its 29 Farm Fresh outlets across the city, starting Wednesday.

An official said, “Onions will be available in the 65 outlets across the State from Thursday. Initially, we will be procuring 10 tonnes of onions from Nashik through the National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation.”

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Printable version | Nov 24, 2020 10:09:34 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/onions-sell-for-90-a-kg-in-wholesale-market/article32904313.ece

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