After tomatoes, will onion prices, if unchecked, bring tears?
The Union government, realising the danger of high onion prices ahead of polls in five states, has moved in to control the prices.
BENGALURU: Onion prices that were around Rs 25 per kg in retail shops last week have touched Rs 35-40, depending on the quality, while top-end supermarkets are quoting Rs 45 per kg. The prices threaten to zoom further if supplies do not keep pace. Shops and supermarkets across Bengaluru confirmed that the prices have gone up by about Rs 12-15 per kg over the last one week.
The Union government, realising the danger of high onion prices ahead of polls in five states, has moved in to control the prices. Recently, a series of meetings was held with the National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation and National Cooperative Consumer Federation where it was decided to use a massive 3 lakh metric tonnes of buffer stock stored across states and markets to keep the prices cool. Karnataka Agriculture Minister Chaluvarayaswamy told TNIE, “We will look into the issue and take corrective action.”
APMC yard merchant Ravishankar B, who is also the secretary of the Onion Merchants Association of Bengaluru, said, “Stocks from Chitradurga, Davangere and other places in Karnataka are not available as monsoon is playing truant. Onion supplies from these areas could get delayed causing the prices to shoot up sharply. If the government releases buffer stocks into the market, it will ensure speculators don’t drive up prices by speculative hoarding.’’
Another APMC yard merchant N Shah said, “If this trend continues, onion prices could go further north.’’
Farmer leader Kodihalli Chandrashekar said, “In about 4,000 hectares in Karnataka, there is expected to be deficient crop and in around 16,000 hectares, there is a delay in harvesting by about 6-8 weeks because of delayed monsoon showers. Nashik in Maharashtra too has faced a deficient crop output leading to this problem.’’