KOCHI: The skyrocketing prices of onion and vegetables are eating into the family budget of people in the state, especially the middle and low-income groups. The price of onion has touched C140 per kg on Thursday, making it an unaffordable item which has vanished from many a kitchen.
With onion prices witnessing a steep rise, many hoteliers have started using cabbage instead of onion in most of the dishes. This has eventually resulted in the hike in the price of cabbage as well.
Traders attributed the increased prices of vegetables to the adverse weather in neighbouring states like Tamil Nadu, from where the largest quantity of the commodities is brought to Kerala.
“The government’s decision to import onion from countries like Egypt and Indonesia is likely to bring down the price. However, most of the retailers and wholesalers are apprehensive about the impact of such a move. We are clueless about the distribution criteria and mediator fee if the onion is imported. We do not know how it will affect small-scale businessmen and sellers,” said N H Shameed, secretary, Ernakulam Market Merchant Association.
In many small and medium level hotels, popular dishes like egg roast and omelette are not available because of the high price of onion. Daily snacks that require onion are not being made in bakeries and food stalls due to the price hike.
Another vegetable that has seen a steep increase in price in the last one month is drumstick. To protect the kitchen budget, many people are not buying drumsticks, which is one of the essential items in Malayali’s favourite dish ‘aviyal’.
Hotelier K J Aravind said the people will slightly alter their food habits to accommodate the steep increase in prices.
“It is a natural trend that we use to witness at the time of price hikes. For instance, instead of egg roast, many hoteliers are now offering egg curry, where the gravy is made out of grated coconut. Likewise, the customers are also now opting for comparatively lower-priced items like bitter gourd, beetroot, snake gourd and pumpkin,” he said.