Retailers to blame for artificial onion shortage

Kurnool market yard has enough stocks, say officials; exports to West Bengal, Odisha continue as usual

Published: 13th August 2017 09:10 AM  |   Last Updated: 13th August 2017 09:10 AM   |  A+A-

onion, vegetables, andhra pradesh

Onion market.

Express News Service

KURNOOL: Onion supply from Madhya Pradesh may have dipped and the rising demand may have spiked the prices of onions from Maharashtra, but what is wrong with Kurnool onions? The Kurnool Agricultural Marketyard supplies onions to Vijayawada, Chittoor and other parts of the State and one of the reasons being cited by traders in different parts of the State for the rising prices is supply shortage from Kurnool. But the ground situation in the Kurnool Agricultural Market Yard is different. 

Officials and wholesale merchants Express spoke to said there were enough stocks in the marketyard to meet the demand and blamed retail stores, traders and middlemen for the sudden spurt in prices. The wholesale price of onion in the marketyard was `2,020 per quintal on Saturday. In other words it is about `20.20 a kg. However, retailers are cashing in on the demand to make a killing. They have hiked the prices so as to double their margin of profit.

“We have sufficient arrivals. The rates here in the market are decreasing at the moment compared to last week. Last week, the price was `3,300 per quintal and today, it is `2,020. What the retailers are doing is defaming the market,” Katta Sekhar, one of the directors of the marketyard committee and an onion trader himself, told Express.

He clarified that there was no possibility of a hike in prices at the Kurnool marketyard in the near future. “These are all speculations. An average of 30 trucks come here everyday. It is true that the weather has destroyed nearly 50 per cent of the crop, but that has not affected the market drastically in anyway,” he explained, accusing the retailers of creating an artificial shortage.

The marketyard secretary G Sivaramakrishna Sastry said that on Saturday alone, as many as 360 tonnes of onions arrived in the market. As per the directions of state government, the Kurnool marketyard exported 20 tonnes to Vijayawada and 10 to Chittoor. Nearly 20 lorries of onion load are sent to Odisha, West Bengal and other states from here regularly. Even now, the exports to other states are continuing from the Kurnool marketyard. According to official records, onion crop was sown in 9,000 hectares in the district this time. The district produces nearly 14 lakh quintals of onions.

However, there are vendors who offer a different take. A wholesale vegetable vendor Hanumantharao Chowdary said that in the past few days, onion has entered the race of cash crops. “Onion prices hit the roof due to rains as the crop has been damaged. Anticipating the trend to continue, retailers may resort to hoarding and create a crisis situation, resulting in the demand going up and, subsequently, the prices,” he explained. Chowdary felt that if the government restricts exports to other states it may help in curbing the artificial shortage. Current wholesale price is `20.20 a kg, whereas in retail it is `35 to `40. 

Prices touch Rs 30 in Chittoor 
Tirupati: For the last one week, onion prices have been going up. On Saturday, onions were selling between H24 and H32  kg depending on the quality. In the district headquarters of Chittoor, the price has shot up to H30 a kg.

In Tirupati also the price touched H30 mark. Merchants in Madanapalli, Chittor, Tirupati,  Srikalahasthi and Pileru, who have contacts with suppliers in other stats, are getting the stocks without much difficulty. At least there is no scarcity as of now in the district.  Assistant Director Marketing  K Indumathi said that there is no problem in getting onions. 

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