Onion selling counters were opened by the district administration at important PDS distribution points across the town on Tuesday. At these counters, onions will be sold at Rs 47 per kg against the market price of `60.
While the traders blame unseasonal rain for rise in onion price, market insiders feel the increase in minimum export price (MEP) has led to the shortfall of onions in the domestic market.
Onion is sold at Rs 60 in the urban areas, while in rural pockets it costs Rs 70 per kg. A month ago, its price was below Rs 30 and during this time last year, it was sold at Rs 12 to Rs 15 per kg.
A trader Ranjan Mohanty said the price had seen a three-fold increase. “As of now, the wholesale price of good quality onions ranged from Rs 5000 to Rs 5500 per quintal. So the retailers are bound to sell it at Rs 60 per kg,” he said.
The State imports onions from Maharashtra, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka. Market sources said the price of the onions, however, increased in the wake of burgeoning demand, late arrival of the commodity and less supply from other states.
According to a recent report of Nashik-based National Horticulture Research and Development Foundation (NHRDF), Odisha stands second in the country after Maharashtra in area under onion cultivation. But the productivity of the crop is very low in Odisha compared to other major onion producing States.
Traders said price is fixed as per the yield. When yield decreases, the price goes up.
As a result of the price hike, people have brought down consumption of onions in their menu. “Earlier, we were purchasing two kgs of onions a week. Now it has been cut down to 500 gm. The price of every commodity in the market is increasing. It’s difficult to manage,” said Gangadhar Barik, a teacher.