ONION BRING YOUR SMILE @ 80% HIGHER NOW.
NEW DELHI/MUMBAI: Onions are again bringing tears to the eyes of consumers with prices touching an annual high across the country. In Delhi, the price of onion ranged between Rs 20-25 per kg, the highest for the year, and over 60-80% higher than that prevailing in December last year.
The difference between wholesale and retail price of onions in Delhi was 100-150% – a clear indication of cartels squeezing the market dry. In other words, though wholesale prices are higher compared to last year, the price the consumer is paying at the retail level is disproportionately higher.
Official data from the Department of Consumer Affairs pegged the average consumer price in Delhi for onion at Rs 20.53 per kg with continuous and more than 50% rise in retail price from February 2012 to December end.
The situation remains the same across the country, with wholesale prices sticking to an annual high at various wholesale markets and retail prices zooming disproportionately higher.
Data from National Horticultural Research and Development Foundation pegged the average wholesale price at markets across the country for December at Rs 1,211 per quintal (or 100 kg). In December 2011, the wholesale price on average had hovered around Rs 650 per quintal.
Chennai, official data showed, is bearing the worst of what some observers claim is an artificial shortage. Wholesale prices in Chennai hovered above Rs 2,000 per quintal with retail prices between Rs 26-30 per kg.
Official data indicated an artificial shortage leading to shooting prices despite a late revival in arrivals in the wholesale markets in Maharashtra - one of the two key zones for onion production in the country.
With the crop harvested during last summer almost consumed, the prices should have largely reflected the supply from the fresh kharif crop. Sources said the arrivals had begun late but had caught up over the month and almost doubled in the month of December. Yet the wholesale price of onions remains sticky around the Rs 1,000 per quintal figure.
Although the average wholesale prices of kharif onion has settled in the range of Rs. 1,000 to 1,100 a quintal during last one month in Lasalgaon APMC- the largest onion market in the country, the arrival of onions has almost doubled from 15,000 quintals a day to 30,000 quintals a day during last one month.
“This year, the regular arrival of kharif crop began in the district APMCs from the first week of December. As a result, there was no shortage as it was earlier expected due to delay of monsoon. Generally, daily arrivals in Lasalgaon APMC, which is around 15,000 a quintal, has reached around 30,000 quintals a day. The arrival of late khairf is also expected by the end of January 2013. Hence, supplied will be good in the market in the next two-three months,” a senior official from Lasalgaon APMC told TOI.
The expected delayed arrival of fresh stock in the wholesale markets coupled with high mark ups for retail suggest that Onions could be costly for another month or so.
Satish Bhonde, additional director, National Horticulture Research and Development Foundation (NHRDF), said, “There will be no onion shortage in the near future as the supply of onions is good in the market and the average wholesale rates have settled in the range of Rs 1,000 to Rs 1,100.”
Sources in the wholesale trade in Maharashtra attributed the rise in the prices of onions in Delhi and other markets to an artificial price rise, suggesting cartelization by traders.
timesofindia.indiatimes.com/indi … 774280.cms