The poor man’s vegetable and main ingredient of the daily menu of millions of citizens, the ubiquitous onion (white and red bulbous variety) seems to have literally hit the tear glands of the common man as the prices have been rocketing every now and then. Onion prices have hit a century in India’s capital while in other cities like Kolkata, Mumbai and Chandigarh, it is hovering between Rs 70-90.
In Namma Bengaluru, it has once again risen from Rs 35 to Rs 60-68 per kilogram in the past few weeks. The reasons are many : destruction of crops because of heavy rains, insufficient arrivals and depletion of existing stocks.
According to authorities, most of the stocks which had come from Nashik have depleted while there are only a few arrivals from the northern districts of Karnataka which is not enough to meet the demands of the city.
A few places in the state which are onion growing areas have witnessed spoilage of the crop resulting in lesser arrivals in the past few weeks. A leading trader in onions and potatoes told City Express, “With the city consuming almost 60,000 kilograms of this perishable item every day, it was tough times as they were not receiving any arrivals from Maharashtra while local arrivals were expected only by November. And, with the quality deteriorating day by day, it was not even possible to stock them,” he added.
The state’s leading fruit and vegetable society in the state, Hopcoms is presently buying around 60 tons per day. As per their price list, they are selling at a price of 68 per kg for onion medium. Speaking to City Express, Kadire Gowda, Managing Director, Hopcoms said, “We used to get onions specifically from Challakere. But this has lately stopped now as most of the crops have been destroyed. However, fortunately some loads of onions are still coming from Chitradurga area. But this is not sufficient to meet the demands of the city.”
While Patil Siddegowda of APMC yard at Yeshwantpur said the quality of onions seen at their place is not so good but of medium quality. “Today, the APMC yard has purchased 60,632 quintals of onions from places like the northern areas of the state like Hubli, Gadag and Belgaum. Usually, the arrivals depend on the demand for a particular vegetable which varies from week to week. Sometimes, it goes up to as high as 80,000 quintals. The prevailing price of onions per quintal is now varying between ` 1800 to ` 5200, depending on the quality of the onions. In fact, we are mostly receiving onions of medium quality and not the good, big sized bulbs.”
A reality check at various vegetable and Hopcoms outlets in both northern and southern parts of the city reveal a mixed scenario where vendors are selling both rotten, bad quality and medium quality onions. One vendor Ragvendra told City Express that last month he was paying ` 1800-2000 per bag of this precious vegetable while presently he was paying as much as ` 4000-4500. “I am selling good quality ones at ` 60 per Kg which was just ` 34 a few weeks back. My customers complain as every day, there is a rise of ` 6 per Kg and it is very difficult for me to sell this vegetable as there are no takers at this rate. I buy 50-70 Kg every day from KR Market and most of the times, the bulbs are black, small and spoilt.”
The Hopcoms MD further opines, “Presently, we are getting onions mainly from Nashik. That’s why the rate is little on the higher side. We hope onion prices will become normal once again when we start getting it from Bellary, Dharwad and the surrounding places. This we guess will happen only from November,” Gowda concludes hopefully.
(With inputs from A Sharadhaa )